Bob Collymore, the chief executive of East Africa’s most successful Africa telecoms company, Safaricom, has died, the company has announced.
In a brief statement the Kenyan company said he died of cancer on Monday morning at his home.
“In October 2017, Bob proceeded to the UK to receive treatment for Acute Myeloid Leukemia and returned in July 2018 to resume duties,” it adds.
He was receiving treatment since then but “in recent weeks his condition worsened”. Mr Collymore became Safaricom’s chief executive in 2010 and helped maintain the company as the regional leader in mobile services, including the payment system Mpesa.
Kenyans have taken to social media to eulogise Safaricom’s Chief Executive Officer Robert William Collymore, who the company said died after a nearly two-year long battle with cancer.
“It is with deep sorrow that we announce the passing away of Robert (Bob) William Collymore, CEO of Safaricom Plc, which occurred at his home in the morning of 1st July 2019,” the firm said in a statement.
In May, Collymore, 61, had said he would stay in his position for an extra year. He was set to step down in August after nine years at the helm, during which time Safaricom’s share price rose by more than 400%.
The appointment of his successor was delayed as the Kenyan government, which owns 35% of the company, has insisted that a local is picked to succeed him.
A legacy of leadership
Safaricom, which is 35% owned by South Africa’s Vodacom, is the country’s biggest telecoms company, controlling about 62% of Kenya’s mobile market, with 30 million subscribers. Britain’s Vodafone has a 5% stake and the Kenyan government owns 35%.
Safaricom posted a 13% rise in its core earnings for the full year to end March to 89.6 billion shillings ($875.86 million), driven by growth in M-Pesa.
Admirers pay tribute
“As a country, we’ve lost a distinguished corporate leader whose contribution to our national wellbeing will be missed,” President Uhuru Kenyatta said in a statement here posted on his office’s Twitter account.
Author: Staff Writer