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Changes at most profitable Kenyan firm

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 22 – Michael Joseph’s 10-year tenure at the helm of Safaricom is set to end in November, the company’s Board announced on Thursday.

His retirement will take effect on November 1 and he will be replaced by Bob Collymore who has served in various capacities in a number of Vodafone’s subsidiaries in Africa.

“I am both gratified and sad that the time has come to move on but feel that as CEO I have managed to do what many others yearn to do and that is change the life of millions of people through our products and services,” Mr Joseph said in the statement.

During his tenure, Mr Joseph transformed the mobile operator into the region’s most profitable company and East Africa’s largest mobile operator.

Speculation had been rife over his retirement when a section of the press had said he would do so at the end of the year.

Mr Collymore, 52, is currently Vodacom Group Chief Officer of Corporate Affairs and brings with him over 30 years experience in the telecommunications industry.

He has also been serving on the Safaricom Board over the last four years.

In the statement, Mr Collymore said he intends to continue with the successful blueprint laid down by Mr Joseph focusing on innovation to strengthen the Safaricom brand in the wake of heated competition.

“I intend to continue to build on the very strong foundation Michael and his team have laid. My focus will be on delivering value and innovation for our customers, developing, and empowering our employees and together with our Kenyan stakeholders, strengthening our outstanding brand,” Mr Collymore said.

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Safaricom Chairman Nicholas Ng’ang’a disclosed that a succession plan had been laid out close to two years ago when MJ, as he is commonly referred to, announced his desire to move onto the ‘next chapter in his life’.

“We owe Michael Joseph a huge debt of gratitude for his leadership and the passion he has for Safaricom. Indeed it would be difficult to overstate his contribution to the company over the last decade,” he said.

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