Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore has passed away after succumbing to acute myeloid leukaemia.
A highly respected figure in the global telecoms industry – particularly within Africa – Collymore died at his home on 1st July, at the age of 61. He is survived by a wife and four children.
The Kenyan market leader issued a statement announcing the news, saying: “On behalf of the board of Safaricom, we extend our deepest condolences to his family, staff of Safaricom, partners and the nation at large who he served selflessly and with joy.”
Collymore took charge of Safaricom in November 2010 and remained in the position up until his death. While the operator was already the market leader in Kenya, it went from strength to strength under his guidance, cementing its position in mobile and elevating its m-Pesa mobile money service into one of the world’s most innovative and successful MFS offerings.
He took medical leave to receive treatment in the UK in October 2017 before returning to Kenya in July 2018 to resume his role. Although he had been expected to retire from his role in August, he in fact extended his contract into 2020 earlier this year.
Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta paid tribute to the “visionary and exceptional leader”, while Telekom Kenya CEO Mugo Kibati honoured Collymore as a “steadfast colleague, visionary and mentor whose foresight earned Kenya’s telco industry a place on the global map.”