Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore to Retire as Government Rallies for a Kenyan Replacement

“I would be very surprised if they can’t find a Kenyan. It will be hard for them to justify, what is so special about telecoms?” says Mucheru.

Safaricom CEO, Bob Collymore

Safaricom CEO, Bob Collymore Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore’s tenure is nearing an end. The head of one of the most successfully carriers in Africa has been with the telco for almost a decade. Collymore’s contract was extended in 2015 and recently in 2017. However, his latest stint at Safaricom has not been the smoothest because he had to take a break for a couple of months for health reasons.

It has since been reported that Collymore will down his CEO tools sometime in August 2019. While no details have far been revealed, it is believed that Mr. Collymore will actually retire for the same health reasons that kept him away from the company during his treatment session in the U.K.

According to CGTN Africa, Bob’s retirement plans have not been made official primarily because the government of Kenya wants a local to head the corporation. Should that be the case, then it will be the first time a Kenyan will be at the telecoms operator’s top leadership position.

Telkom Kenya, for instance, appointed a local CEO a couple of months ago after the departure of Aldo Mareuse. Airtel Kenya, on the other hand, is headed an Indian CEO. The two carriers, which are finalizing a merger, will be headed by Airtel’s current CEO.

CGTN further notes that a key Kenyan banking executive had been interviewed by the Safaricom board. However, the executive appears to have been let go as the board settled on a non-Kenyan national. The move has however been disputed by the government that wants an agreement made between it and the carrier sometime in 2017 adhered to.

What’s more, ICT CS Joe Mucheru has been quoted by Reuters that Safaricom will be remiss if it skips on a local CEO for a foreigner. “I would be very surprised if they can’t find a Kenyan. It will be hard for them to justify, what is so special about telecoms?” Mucheru was quoted.

Obviously, this is a matter that will be addressed in the coming days as more details emerge. The carrier will be announcing FY18/19 financials on May 3, and we hope to find out more from the meeting.

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Kenn Abuya is a friend of technology, with bias in enterprise and mobile tech. Share your thoughts, tips and hate mail at [email protected]


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