Telco Safaricom has confirmed that its CEO Bob Collymore has passed away.
Mr Collymore died earlier this morning at his home.
A statement from the nation’s top carrier has reiterated the sad news.
“It is with deep sorrow that we announce the passing away of Robert (Bob) William Collymore CEO of SAFARICOM PLC which occured at his home in the morning of 1st July 2019.”
“In October 2017, Bob proceeded to the U.K. to receive treatment for Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) and returned in July 2018 to resume duties. He has been undergoing treatment for this condition since then in different hospitals and most recently at Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi. In recent weeks, his condition worsened an he succumbed to the cancer at his home in the early hours of Monday 1st July 2019,” reads a statement from the carrier.
Bob joined Safaricom back in 2010 after succeeding the then outgoing CEO Micheal Joseph. Under his tenure, which was extended a few weeks ago for another year, Collymore propelled the mobile carrier to greater heights, with the launch of a tonne of products that have catapulted the operator to its current position. Among his greatest achievements include the relocation of M-PESA servers from Germany to Kenya back in 2015. It should be noted that the mobile money product is one of the carrier’s flagship product that has amassed huge profits under the leadership of Collymore.
He was instrumental in keeping the company at its paces, especially in recent months that have been marked by dominant talks. While studies found out that the carrier has an upper hand in terms of market share and businesses advantages, Collymore lauded Safaricom’s success, and continued to argue that the corporation should not be punished for being successful.
Two years after his role as CEO, Collymore saw the launch of microfinance product M-Shwari that allowed M-PESA users to access loans or save their money. The following year, the carrier started the Lipa na M-PESA services that have since transformed how Kenyans pay for products and services in retail stores or a variety of other vendor-based businesses.
Collymore was also responsible for the launch of other M-PESA-based products such as Hakikisha that allows customers to countercheck the name of M-PESA recipients, the now failed M-PESA 1-Tap and the Mshwari-esque collaboration with KCB, KCB MPESA.
More recently, Collymore steered the carrier toward making key strides in the payments department that included collaborations with America’s PayPal, Western Union and just the other day, Ali Express.
In January 2019, Collymore and his team launched an overdraft facility dubbed Fuliza. Perhaps the last partnership that he took part in was with Equity Bank the two corporations agreed to create a joint transformation agenda that would ensure that more Kenyans have access to key services and products via an innovative approach that will take advantage of a finance and technology blend.
Under his management, Safaricom and M-PESA have grown to some of the most recognizable brands in Africa. The operator has, in equal measure, attracted some of the best technical and leadership talent in the nation, a feat that has also seen Safaricom win lucrative government contracts, such as the National Police Surveillance project.
He was also part of the team that popularized jazz festivals in the nation by sponsoring a series of major shows, including one that featured jazz legend Hugh Masekela.
Here are some of the condolence messages that have since been passed to his friends, family and the Safaricom fraternity:
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.
— Raila Odinga (@RailaOdinga) July 1, 2019
"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" ~ H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta
— State House Kenya (@StateHouseKenya) July 1, 2019
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.
— William Samoei Ruto, PhD (@WilliamsRuto) July 1, 2019
Shocked and sad to learn of the departure of Bob Collymore from this world. It really breaks my heart. He was a wonderful friend, brilliant strategist and a fighter. I really thought he would pull through. My condolences to his family and entire Safaricom team. Sad day. pic.twitter.com/rT2I8wZ7Uk
— Dr. Alfred Mutua (@DrAlfredMutua) July 1, 2019
It is with deep sadness that I have learnt this morning news of the death of Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore. As a country, we’ve lost a distinguished leader who greatly contributed to national development. My condolences to family, friends and all Kenyans.
Rest In Peace my friend. pic.twitter.com/QfaA4QMygR
— Chris Kirubi (@CKirubi) July 1, 2019
— Bitange Ndemo (@bantigito) July 1, 2019
He will be dearly missed.
May he rest well.