Safaricom boss dies at 61

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The late Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore.
The late Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore. PHOTO/COURTESY: Techweez

Safaricom Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Bob Collymore is dead.  He passed on at the age of 61 at his home in Kitisuru Nairobi on Monday morning after battling acute myeloid leukemia – a form of blood cancer. 

Mr Collymore took over the helm of Safaricom in 2010 from Michael Joseph who left the telco for carrier Kenya Airways (KQ). He was diagnosed with leukemia in 2017 upon which he took a nine month leave from Safaricom to go for treatment in the United Kingdom. He returned to the country in July 2018 and resumed his position at Safaricom while undergoing treatment at a number of hospitals in the country.

The announcement about the Safaricom CEO’s untimely passing was made by the telco’s board chairman in a statement.

“It is with deep sorrow that we announce the passing away of Robert (Bob) William Collymore which occurred at his home in the morning of 1st July 2019. On behalf of the Board of SAFARICOM PLC, we extend our deepest condolences to his family, staff of Safaricom, partners and the nation at large who he served selflessly and with joy,” Nicholas Ng’ang’a Safaricom’s Chairman said in an official statement.

Several leaders have already sent their condolences to the family of the late Bob Collymore even as the country continues to reel in shock following his unexpected passing.

President Uhuru Kenyatta shared his condolence message to the family on his official twitter page saying:

“It is with deep sadness that I have this morning received news of the death of Safaricom CEO Mr. Bob Collymore after years of battling cancer. As a country, we’ve lost a distinguished corporate leader whose contribution to our national wellbeing will be missed.”

Collymore helped to build Safaricom into East Africa’s most profitable company, thanks to his innovative spirit and the success of the popular mobile money transfer service M-PESA.

As at March 2019, the firm reported a 14.7 percent jump in net profits for year ended March 2019 to Ksh63.4 billion. The deceased was also able to transform M-PESA from a basic SIM card-based money transfer application into a fully-fledged financial service.

The late Bob Collymore has left behind a wife and four children.

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