NAIROBI, Kenya Jul 1 – Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Bob Collymore is dead.
The company’s Board Chairperson Nicholas Nganga says Collymore, aged 61, passed on at his home this morning after a long battle with cancer.
“It is with deep sorrow that we announce the passing away of Robert (Bob) William Collymore CEO Safaricom which occurred at his home,” Nganga said in a statement issued on Monday morning.
Collymore has been in and out of the country for several months seeking treatment for Acute Myloid Leukemia (AML).
In October 2017, Collymore travelled to the United Kingdom to receive treatment and returned in July last year to resume his duties.
Lately, he had been receiving treatment at the Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi.
Collymore leaves behind a wife and four children.
“On behalf of the Board of Safaricom, we extend our deepest condolences to his family, staff, partners and the nation at large who he served selflessly with joy,” Nganga said.
Collymore has been Chief Executive Officer of the telecom firm since 2010.
He has been credited for leading the company to profitability, Safaricom recently reporting a 14.7 per cent increase in net profits standing at Sh63.4 billion for its year ending March 2019.
Results released on May 3 showed the firm had recorded a growth in voice service revenue by 0.3 per cent to Sh 95.9 billion.
Revenue from the mobile payment service – M-Pesa – grew by 19.2 per cent to Sh74.9 billion.
“We are pleased with the strong results we have delivered for the year, building on our long track record of delivering relevant products and putting the customer first. We foresee continued growth in the future,” Collymore said at an investor briefing at the time.
The telco also recorded a service revenue growth of 7 per cent to Sh240 billion.
Revenue from its messaging service rose by 1.3 per cent to Sh17.5 billion.
Safaricom declared Sh24.8 billion in special dividend.
President Uhuru Kenyatta eulogized Collymore as a distinguished corporate leader.
“It is with deep sadness that I have this morning received news of the death of Safaricom CEO 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,” Kenyatta said in a condolence note.
Deputy President William Ruto said Collymore’s leadership at Safaricom was commendable, describing his battle with cancer as exemplary, brilliant and courageous.
“Bob Collymore was a distinguished corporate titan, whose shrewd leadership at the helm of Safaricom was commendable. He steered the company to new heights and contributed immensely to the evolution of Kenya’s corporate scene,” he said.
Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga said Collymore served Kenya with dedication.
“My condolences go out to the friends and family of Mr Bob Collymore as well as the entire Safaricom fraternity. Bob served our country with dedication and sustained us as a communication hub in Africa. May his soul rest in eternal peace.”
In May, Safaricom extended Collymore’s contract to August 2020 to compensate for the period he was away on medical leave.
Collymore is a Guyanese-born British businessman.