Kalahari.com appoints new chief technology officer

South Africa’s biggest online retailer, Kalahari.com has appointed senior manager at Amazon Web Services, Dirk Oberholster as its new chief technology officer.

Oberholster replaces Matthew Roux, who has been appointed director: Programme Management and IT Operations at the online retailer.

According to Oberholster’s LinkedIn profile, he has been working in the role since August 2014, with over 20 years of experience in software development and IT management.

He has held senior positions at various technology companies in South Africa, Dubai and the United Kingdom, most recently as senior manager at Amazon Web Services (EC2).

He has a degree in electronic engineering from the University of Pretoria.

Dirk LinkedIn
Dirk Oberholster on LinkedIn

Competitive play

Kalahari has its work cut out for it, defending its title as the country’s largest e-commerce player in the face of an open challenge from its biggest competitor, Takealot.com.

Takealot.com CEO, Kim Reid said recently that the group aims to overtake Kalahari.com by 2015, following a $100 million (R10 billion) cash injection from its major shareholder, New York-based, Tiger Global Management.

Responding to Takealot’s challenge at the time, Kalahari said it remains confident in its market position, noting “accelerating growth” in its business and “great potential in the South African market overall”.

Takealot has since launched marketing campaigns taking tongue-in-cheek jabs at Kalahari’s own marketing, and made a stronger push to spread its influence in the market.

In late August, Takealot acquired 100% of designer online marketplace, Superbalist – a company which has shown remarkable growth in the past two years. By the time of its acquisition, the company was serving a customer base of over 1 million.

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Kalahari.com appoints new chief technology officer