World Retail Hall of Fame honour for Christo Wiese
Dr Christo Wiese, chairman of Shoprite Holdings and Pepkor Holdings, is to be inducted into the World Retail Hall of Fame next month. He is the first retailer from Africa be so honoured.
The ceremony will take place in Rome on the last day of this year's World Retail Congress on 10 September, also his birthday. He will be joined by four other retailers: Kip Tindell, Chairman of The Container Store chain in the US; Mohammed Alshaya, Executive Chairman of the Alshaya Group of Kuwait; and Juan and Reinaldo Solari, former Chairmen of the Falabella group of Chile, which today operates across South America.
The World Retail Hall of Fame was created in 2007 to recognise the lifetime achievements of leading retailers internationally. Among those already honoured in this way since are Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of Ikea, Jack Ma of Alibaba, Sir Stuart Rose of Marks & Spencer, Michael Gould of Bloomingdales, Armancio Ortega of Zara, Sir Philip Green of Topshop and Sir Paul Smith, founder of the men's fashion chain Paul Smith.
The full list of the World Retail Hall of Fame members includes the original 100 names nominated by retailers and industry commentators when it was launched in 2007. Among these names are those of David Glass of Wal-Mart, Charles Digby Harrod of Harrods, Jack Cohen, founder of Tesco and Robert Wood of Sears Roebuck.
Learning of his invitation to be inducted, Wiese said he was deeply humbled by the honour but stressed that the achievement could never have occurred without "the many thousands" who had helped build up his various businesses. "I shall accept it on behalf of them all. In all honesty, there are some who are more deserving of it than me."
He said he also saw the award as recognition, inter alia, of the retailing sector of South Africa "which is as sophisticated as in any First World country. It grew out of the needs of an unusually diverse society spread over a vast geographic area. Using some of the best international examples as a point of departure, we created our own unique solutions which enable us to trade today with great success across several continents."