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Naspers CEO Dons His Go-To Outfit for Day in the Spotlight

John Bowker and Ruben Munsterman

(Bloomberg) -- Naspers Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Bob van Dijk may be stealing a page from the Steve Jobs personal-branding playbook. Jobs had his black turtleneck, and Van Dijk has his open-necked white shirt.

The head of Africa’s biggest company has been photographed five times by Bloomberg News over the past four years, and each time he’s opted for the same laid-back style.

True to form, Van Dijk arrived at Amsterdam’s stock exchange on Wednesday dressed in his go-to outfit, pairing the customary shirt with a pair of blue smart-casual trousers to bang the opening gong and watch shares in his company’s newly-listed technology business soar.

Read More: Naspers Unit Soars in Debut to Close Discount With Tencent

It’s not unusual for powerful people to adopt a kind of uniform that makes them instantly recognizable -- from Jobs and his turtlenecks to Barack Obama’s closely-tailored suits. Now Van Dijk is running one of Europe’s two biggest technology companies, he may want a similar recognized look.

Prosus NV -- as Van Dijk’s new business is called -- has operations all over the world, from food delivery in Brazil to online travel booking in India. Van Dijk spends about 200 days a year on the road to keep watch over his scattered empire and jokingly refers to his executive team as “the flying circus” -- another reason not to have to worry about clothing.

“For a person who’s running a large, listed company there’s a case to be made to wear the same, simple thing every day,” says Jort Kelder, a Dutch fashion expert with a clothing line at upmarket men’s retailer Suitsupply. “It’s so clothing doesn’t become an issue for them. Their appearance doesn’t distract from what they are doing.”

--With assistance from Ellen Proper, Robert Williams, Loni Prinsloo and Gem Atkinson.

To contact the reporters on this story: John Bowker in Johannesburg at jbowker2@bloomberg.net;Ruben Munsterman in Amsterdam at rmunsterman1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Thomas Pfeiffer at tpfeiffer3@bloomberg.net, John McCorry

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