eaders from various sectors expressed shock and sadness following the demise of Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Robert Collymore on Monday, 1st July 2019. Mr Collymore had been undergoing cancer treatment since October 2017 in different hospitals and most recently at Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi.
In recent weeks, his condition worsened and he succumbed to the cancer at his home, Safaricom Board said in a statement. During a press briefing on updates on Bob’s demise, Safaricom Board chairman Nicholas Ng’ang’a said that Bob has fought his cancer with great courage, all the time giving leadership from his house.
The emotional Board Chair added that Collymore had been ailing for two years and knew what was going to happen and he was ready.
On burial plans, Ng’ang’a said that a public memorial service will be held in honour of the late Collymore during the course of the week. “There will be a private internment (burial) process tomorrow but, later on in the week, hopefully Thursday or Friday, there will be a memorial service for all those who knew and cared for Bob,” said the Board Chair.
Safaricom former CEO Michael Joseph who was also present at the press briefing said Collymore had transformed Safaricom to greater heights ever since he joined the company nine years ago. “Nobody expected this to happen so soon. Bob, who died aged 61, took over from me in 2010 and he understood the business of Safaricom,” said Michael Joseph
The Supreme Court Chief Justice David K. Maraga has also termed the CEO as an inspiration to many people saying he has left behind a strong legacy that would forever be cherished.
“Collymore was an exemplary corporate leader who not only drove the financial performance of his company to incomparable heights, but also created many avenues of support for deserving charities and individuals who benefited greatly from Safaricom corporate social responsibility programmes,” he said.
Central Bank of Kenya Governor Patrick Njoroge also came out to empathize with Collymore’s family, friends and the entire Safaricom family saying that Bob has helped position Kenya as a global leader in financial inclusion.
“Bob who has led Safaricom from November 2010 has helped make M-Pesa and its associated products a core part of Kenya’s payment infrastructure. His legacy will live on through all the people in Kenya and throughout the world,” Governor Njoroge emphasized.
According to The East African Business Council (EABC) Board of Directors and Management, Collymore was an intelligent, innovative and courageous telecommunication industry leader and champion who has transformed the East African telecommunication industry, making Safaricom Plc. one of the most prominent and profitable companies in East Africa.
EABC Chief Executive Officer Peter Mathuki added that Collymore, as a member of EABC, has re-energized optimism in regional integration by spearheading One Network Area in the East African Community (EAC), which led to a reduction in the cost of doing business in particular, elimination of telecommunication roaming charges in the Republics of Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan.
“His passing is a great loss to the East African business community, the people of East Africa and those who strongly believe in borderless East Africa,’’ he grieved
Collymore was in 2017 voted to extend his contract by the shareholders by an additional two years after his tenure expired. His term was to expire in August 2020 making him the longest serving CEO in the telecommunication’s brief history.
Bob was born as Robert Bob Collymore on 13th January 1958 and was a Guyanese-born British businessman. Collymore has left behind his wife, Wambui Kamiru, whom he married in 2016 and four children.