Why Safaricom is Not Replacing Bob Collymore

  • On October 30, telecommunication giant Safaricom announced that CEO Bob Collymore had taken medical leave to receive specialised treatment.

    The company's Chairman, Nicholas Ng’ang’a, made the announcement in a circular to employees but did not disclose the nature of Mr. Collymore’s sickness.

    “On behalf of the board, management and the entire Safaricom community, I wish Bob quick recovery and look forward to him resuming his duties as soon as the doctors allow him to do so,” he stated.

    [caption caption="Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore"][/caption]

    Controversial reports on Tuesday hinted that a number of people had been interviewed for the top job at Safaricom causing a mini-scare among loyal users of the service provider.

    "5 people interviewed to replace Bob Collymore. 3 Kenyans, one Indian and One Ghanaian," some of the reports on social media noted.

    However, Collymore still has an ongoing contract and will continue being the CEO, though in absentia, but will resume his duties at the end of his medical leave.

    Mr Collymore, 59, a Guyanan-born British citizen, took charge of Safaricom in 2010 on a three-year contract after the company’s founding CEO Michael Joseph retired.

    Collymore's exceptional performance as CEO had his term renewed for another two years to 2015 and a further two years to 2017.

    His tenure was due to end in August 2017 but Collymore secured yet another two-year extension. This means he will head Safaricom until August 2019.

    The extensions were seen as a pointer to the telco’s preference for stability rather than change as it navigated a difficult operating environment characterised by ever-changing regulations.

    “You don’t rock a boat when it is sailing smoothly and beautifully,” stated Mr. Ng’ang’a.

    Mr. Collymore’s time at the helm has seen Safaricom’s revenues hit Sh212.9 billion in the year to March 2017 from Sh83.96 billion in 2010 and is expected to be back at his office soon.

    In his absence, Safaricom chief financial officer Sateesh Kamath took a “primary role,” and has been supported by Joseph Ogutu – the company’s director of Strategy and Innovation.

    [caption caption="Bob Collymore During His Wedding"][/caption]