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Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore dies in Nairobi

SAFARICOM CEO Bob Collymore dies of cancer at his home in Nairobi; chairman Nicholas Nganga says his condition worsened in recent weeks.

Safaricom Chairman Nicholas Nganga says Bob Collymore has recently been undergoing treatment at the Agha Khan University Hospital after his condition worsened. He passed on early Monday morning. He leaves behind a wife and four children

As head of Safaricom, which is 40 per cent owned by Vodafon of the UK, the 55-year-old led a company seen as a national institution but that is often accused of monopolistic tendencies. Bob Collymore used the word “dominant” before correcting himself. “Why don’t we call it ubiquitous … I think that’s a nice word.”

Safaricom has 19 m customers in a country of 44m, which translates to nearly every adult. It reported revenues of KSh116.5bn ($1.3bn) last year and has developed an international reputation for innovation

Bob Collymore Age

He was born in 1958, in British. He died aged 61.

Bob Collymore Salary

Collymore as a Safaricom CEO, he was earning Ksh 10 Million a month.

Bob Collymore Education

Collymore moved to join his mother in the United Kingdom at the age of 16, where he attended Selhurst High School. He was offered a place at Warwick University but had to turn this down as he was ineligible for funding.

Bob Collymore Early Life

Bob Collymore was raised by his grandparents in Guyana for 12 years and when he was 16 his mother, who had moved to the UK, brought him to join her in London. As the only black child in his class, he tried to be “wallpaper” to avoid getting beaten up.

After school, he had to forgo a place at Warwick University because he was not eligible for funding. “I wanted to go to university and I disliked not having gone and for some years after I wished I’d gone,” he says. “Now it doesn’t matter, [but] I would always advise a young person to go to the best university you can find.”

Unable to pursue a degree, Bob Collymore spent his time filling forms as a junior underwriter and working as a train announcer while pursuing his passion for “surrealist stuff”.

Were it not for his mother, he might still be selling his oil paintings along the railings of Hyde Park. But she joked she would evict him unless he got a serious job and got him an interview at British Telecom, where she worked. He was given an entry-level job as a clerical officer.

Bob Collymore Career

Bob Collymore career took off when he joined the UK’s Cellnet in 1993, just as the corporate world was starting to venture into mobile telephony. “I was walking down a path no one else had walked and I thought, ‘this is good because the rules aren’t written and I’m just going to make the rules up as I go’,” he says. “We took some risks. This change thing – it is actually quite exciting, it’s good, and you will make mistakes and you will stumble and fall and that’s quite neat.”

The hankering after new ground and love of adaptability has served him well. “I didn’t go to the smart university; this is probably the only thing which has ever distinguished me,” he says. “Nothing beats this job.”

Bob Collymore Job History

September 2010 – Present: CEO at Safaricom

February 2009 – September 2010: Chief Officer Corporate Affairs, Vodacom

September 2006 – February 2009: Governance Director, Africa, Vodafone

  • Lead and coordinate the governance-related strategies and activities for Vodafone’s holding in Africa
  • Ensure adherence to relevant shareholder agreements.
  • Lead and develop joint projects that improve the operational performance of the African operations.
  • Partner with the local management on key projects in areas of customer service, marketing and product development.
  • Lead and facilitate the sharing and dissemination of best practices into and out of Africa to deliver efficiencies in business improvement and operational performance.
  • Support the formulation of the financial forecasts for Vodafone’s African operations, with adjustments ranging up to $100M, and influence management to meet the KPIs.
  • Represent Vodafone as a key foreign investor in Southern Africa and Kenya

April 2003 – April 2006 : Marketing Director, Asia, Vodafone Group

  • Initiated the Vodafone 3G terminals convergence programme for Europe and Japan.
  • Mobilised the worldwide handset vendor community behind the Vodafone 3G handset programme.
  • Re-engineered the terminal development process in Japan which resulted in reduced cost and improved time to market.
  • Established and led a 60 strong Group team in Japan to successfully launch a range of new handsets and mobile content to the Japanese market.
  • Led the strategic relationship with Japanese handset vendors on behalf of Vodafone Group.

July 2000 – April 2003 : Global Handset Purchasing Director, Vodafone Group

  • Led a major organisation re-design to integrate the handset supply chain activities across the Vodafone group of subsidiaries and affiliates.
  • Exceeded cost saving targets of £33m by 30% following the Group’s acquisitions of Airtouch and Mannesmann.
  • Led the consolidation of handset specification and testing across the Vodafone Group companies including subsidiaries, affiliates and partners.
  • Led a number of key product development initiatives to support the Group’s technology and marketing rollout, most notably the launch of the first camera phones and of Vodafone Live! in 2002.

December 1998 – July 2000: Handset Purchasing Director, Vodafone UK

  • Integrated the handset purchasing operation across the Vodafone UK organisation in 1999.
  • Led the re-modelling of the Vodafone UK Pre-paid handset business
  • Built effective relationships with the handset vendors and achieved on-target cost savings.
  • Consolidated the UK warehouse, distribution and service operations into an outsourced organisation.

July 1994 – December 1998: Purchasing Director of Dixons Stores Group

  • Grew the Dixons market share from around 5% to more than 10% of the UK cellular market and more than 25% of the fixed terminals market.
  • Responsible for developing and managing relationships with key network and hardware suppliers.
  • As a board member of Dixons Group Purchasing Ltd, had an integral role in the development of the Group’s purchasing strategy.

1994 – 1998: Purchasing Director, Dixons Group PLC

July 1994 – July 1995 : Handset Strategy Manager, Cellnet

  • Responsible for working with the handset suppliers to develop terminal functionality that optimised the services of the network
  • Developed a handset strategy for Cellnet that leveraged the infrastructure trading relationship.
  • Introduced a number of new suppliers to the UK market.
  • Key member of a small team that delivered a number of affinity projects across the automotive and banking sectors, most notably the launch of the Barclaycard Phone.

January 1978 – July 1994: Various Management Roles at British Telecom

  • A number of purchasing, marketing and corporate relations roles in British Telecom.
  • Responsibilities ranged from training, making corporate training videos, purchasing a range of consumer products and managing BT’s range of cordless telephones and mobile handsets.

Bob Collymore Award

In 2012 Bob Collymore was awarded the Moran of the Burning Spear (MBS)

Bob Collymore Wealth

In Bob Collymore individual assets declaration 2015, Collymore revealed he earns Ksh 10 Million a month, adding up to close to Sh109 million per year.

The Safaricom boss is also worth over Sh200 million in assets and cash both in Kenya and overseas.

Bob Collymore, who has been working for over 30 years, has a residential house in London, UK worth USD 530,000 (about Ksh53,000,000), cash balances in local banks worth USD 203,000 (about Ksh20,300,000), Safaricom Limited shares worth USD180,000 (about Ksh18,000,000) and Vodafone PLC shares worth USD871,000 (about Ksh 87,000,000).

He also declared his dividends and income of USD 5,800 (about Ksh580,000) in the last 12 months.

Bob Collymore Nationality

Bob Collymore is a Guyanese native.

Bob Collymore Children

Bob Collymore has two children which he got with his first wife before they separated. After marring Wambui Kamiru he will now be taking care of Wambui’s 3 children.

10 things to Know About Bob Collymore

  1. Bob Collymore’s full name is Robert William Collymore.
  2. He is originally from Guyana, a country in South America.
  3. He went to school in Guyana but at the age of 16 moved to the UK with his family.
  4. He started earning money when he was 12-years-old by selling art pieces from plasticine moulds.
  5. Collymore’s first real job was as an office boy when he was 16-years-old.
  6. The Safaricom Boss wakes up at 5.15am everyday.
  7. During his early years, Collymore wanted to be a painter and he says he would still want to be one.
  8. He does not like Kenyan food but rather prefers Chinese and Indian foods.
  9. He is 57 years old and a father of two children. A Son, 21 years old who schools in the UK, and an adopted daughter, 7 years.
  10. Bob enjoys flying helicopters. He spends upwards of Sh 35,000 an hour hiring a chopper. In an interview some years back, he said that’s how most of his money is spent.

Bob Collymore News

Bob Collymore: Life lessons from my hospital bed

Updated: 12.08.2018

He does nothing the whole day but read from his Kindle and think. When he leaves this sanitised room it’s only through his mind and imagination.

He thinks of death but doesn’t acknowledge it, doesn’t give it much megabytes, or MBs – as the more bohemian crowd refer to attention. Lying there, he thinks of his son who he wants “happiness” for.

He thinks of his daughter, Serah, only 10 years old and who he calls his pumpkin. He thinks of his wife, Wambui, who is seated in the hallway wrapped in a broth of her own thoughts, being strong for both of them.

He doesn’t cry, Bob, because he already cried when he learnt he had cancer. Now nothing else matters. He waits and he fights.

He fights for Wambui and for his children and for the legion of Kenyans who have been praying for his recovery. To mean now he just has to be Bob.

Bob who flies choppers, collects arts, loves books, blows his saxophone, wears his happy socks, fears cats and steers, as captain, Safaricom, the most profitable company that announced a staggering Sh55.2 billion net profit when he was under a fog of nauseating chemotherapy.

Bob Collymore Beats Cancer

Then Bob beats it. He beats the cancer. Then he flies home having lost all the immunity he had built over 60-years of his life.

You could stretch it and say he’s reborn. “The fear of death is not something I spent time worrying,” he tells Jackson Biko in his home in Kitusuru, seated under one of the many paintings dotting his lavish home.

“Now I know it’s kind of impossible for somebody to live for 200 years.”

His wife, Wambui, sits close to him, smiling at him tenderly and looking at him with a softness of powder in the wind.

Having just turned 60 not too long ago, what was been your greatest revelation of the 50s?

Bob Collymore: I think I had a lot more self realisation in my 50s. In my 40s I was still hunting around. I left UK for Japan and then to South Africa where I started to gain a defined sense of purpose, began to understand there is privilege in working in an environment you can make a difference in.

The other significant thing that happened in my 50s is that I adopted my daughter – we have a 50-year difference between us. That was a great thing.

My 50s is also when I was diagnosed with cancer and to think of life and wonder if things will work out; will I get back to Nairobi or is this it; and when I look back at my life how do I feel about that.

I had a conversation with my daughter and she said, ‘daddy you’ll come back, you are a good man.’ I asked why and she said, “Because of what you do for girls, for children through Safaricom and what you do for the poor.”

For my 10-year-old daughter to say that, to say “you are a good man,” really mattered a lot to me. So I said if I don’t see 61, I’m good.

Has your purpose shifted, what’s your purpose in your 60s?

Bob Collymore: That’s a good question. I know purpose is to help as many people as I can to do the right thing. I have talked about cancer children at KNH on palliative care, children who know they will die and not dying in the best circumstances.

My question is; can I sway people or the government to do the right thing for them? Can I make business deals that will look at the climate change or impact it in a good way? Can I do more to encourage great transparency, reduce fraud and corruption?

Have you always been clear what you wanted? Was this ever part of the big idea?

Bob Collymore: I was always clear that I wanted a bigger car and a bigger house, like most people, really. [Laughs].

I wanted these things because they show status but at some point, I must have been 45-years, these things changed. I started asking what do I want to do and why?

I was in Japan then with my family and my son had just finished school and I thought, ‘what is important to me now?’ and at that time it was my son’s happiness. But was the car I was driving then, a Jaguar XKR Sports, going to guarantee his happiness?

I started to think about the society he was living in and the future he was going to occupy and my role in making it better. That was my turning point. Life was never going to be about the size of car I drove.

Did you ever cry when you were in hospital?

Bob Collymore: I think I did. Once or twice, in the early days. There was a period of uncertainty, when I didn’t know exactly if I had cancer or not but everything was indicative that perhaps I had it.

I came to that realisation in London at the hospital when it dawned on me that it was cancer. But I don’t think I cried because I thought I was going to die, I think I cried because I started to realise how much everybody else cared.

And I cried in response to the messages. It was a death moving messages, even the sea was moved. Everybody at Safaricom and just the general Kenyan public, strangers, acquaintances, friends, just wishing you well.

How can you tell which people align themselves to you because you are the CEO and those who genuinely connect with you because you are Bob?

Bob Collymore: It’s tough. I remember many years ago, Wambui asked me the same question. I said I don’t and that’s why I only have one friend, unfortunately that friend died. She said wow.

But over the eight years of being here, we’ve seen more and more people emerge as genuine friends or people who genuinely care. So I have a very small circle of good friends, and they come from different kind of backgrounds. It’s tough for people like me because we actually want people to care more.

So who now tells the emperor when he’s naked?

Bob Collymore: Wambui does. Also, him [points at Urbanus Musinga, his Executive Assistant]. He is likely to tell me when I’m doing stupid things…

What’s the most stupid thing you’ve done in nine years as CEO?

Bob Collymore: (Chuckles) Why are you asking this question? Because I have to go through so many things that I have done to pick the most stupid thing I’ve done.

They’re many. My mind is in paradise to think about it now. [Pause] I think some bad HR decisions — the firing was more about the timing rather than if I should have done it or not.

Then there are commercial decisions, we made some wrong calls. [Pause] We do stupid things everyday, I do stupid things every day.

Has this experience of battling cancer changed your perception of mortality?

Bob Collymore: [Pause] Death is inevitable and I have made the decision not to cling on the thought of it because it will eventually come; I just do not know when.

I have chosen to focus on the things that are more important to me. Now I know it’s kind of impossible for somebody to live for 200 years.

[Chuckles]. But something very important is that when you have cancer the idea of death is near, and so it doesn’t surprise unlike you who is healthy, but death could be coming in the next minute or tomorrow morning.

Has it changed how you do business?

Bob Collymore: To some extent it has. It has allowed me to let more people manage me. It’s made us focus on the things that are important because not everything is important, not all arguments are important.

You do not always have the last word on something and you do not always have to be the first person to say something. Just shut up and listen and do not have to always say anything. When you spend a lot of time on your own, you realise that silence actually is a pretty good thing.

Because music is a big thing in your life, if you’re to pick a song that captures the moment you were fighting cancer, what song would that be?

Bob Collymore: That’s a tough question. There’s a difference between me and my wife, she listens to the words, I listen to the music. So for me it’s a bit more abstract, it’s about the sound, not the words. So I don’t think I can pick a song that says, that’s where I was.

But during this time I did listen to a lot of “Grandma’s Hands,” by Gregory Porter and Ben LOncle. Grandma’s Hands actually is a nice song because it does take me back a lot because my grandmother had such a huge impact in my life. Probably the single most important person in my life.

You have been married once before…

Bob Collymore: Three times! [Laughter in the room] But divorced twice.

How do you do it three times? What is your reason for coming back over and over, is it love? Faith? What is it?

Bob Collymore: Each time it’s got better. Each time the match has been better. There are stuff I couldn’t have done better for sure.

And is blame which I have to take. Hopefully I have learnt from some of it. What keeps me coming back? [Pause] I think I never set out to remarry, I think I just meet someone who, we lived together for a while before we got married, so someone who you think I can spend the rest of my life with because we care for each other.

The first marriage was a mistake for sure. I was too young — in my 20s. The second one was not a mistake, what was a mistake was how we conducted it.

Now we’re actually very good friends with Clare because we have children in common and she has been very very supportive because she’s gone through cancer herself in the UK and she kind of gives me tips on how to deal with some of the challenges that I face with the chemicals they’re about to pump into me. She frequently reached out to Wambui and say why don’t you come down for the weekend?

When you were in that room, alone, with your thoughts, did you discover anything about yourself?

Bob Collymore: Yes, actually I did. [Pause] I don’t know if I should say it…I should in the spirit of honesty. [Pause] I had hundreds and hundreds of well-wishers sending me messages to get well soon, some who are strangers, business rivals, acquaintances and all and I stopped and asked myself, “would I have done the same thing?” [Long pause] The answer is no. That realisation didn’t fill me with pride, knowing that I was not the nice person I thought I was.

Does it get easier – marriage – when you keep getting married?

Bob Collymore: I think it does get easier providing you’re mature enough to learn lessons from the last time round. If you’re not mature then you’ll keep repeating the same mistakes.

Do you think as you grow older you become a better husband?

Bob Collymore: I think you should become, I don’t think you always do. There are some old guys who don’t do anything constructive.

I don’t think it necessarily follows that age imposes your standing as a husband. There are some pretty stupid old husbands and some pretty stupid young husbands.

Because you have a blended family, how do you make sure that everybody else is getting along?

Bob Collymore: That’s a trickier question to answer because it is complex. There are lots and lots of people involved. So my side, I’m really lucky in the sense that my ex-wife has met a guy who is fantastic.

They’re getting married again next year. He’s a good man.

He would go to such extent just to make sure that I can see my daughter. When I was sick he would drive her and then leave her for the Saturday.

Source: Daily Nation

Bob Collymore cancer diagnosis

August 09, 2018

Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore on Wednesday evening opened up on his journey with cancer.

Speaking during a television interview with Jeff Koinange, Collymore divulged that by the time it was diagnosed, doctors told him he had it for 6 months.

“I went to London and they told me I had acute myeloid leukaemia- a rare kind of blood cancer that is curable.
“I was diagnosed with cancer. The doctors told me at the time that I had probably had it for about 6 months,” he revealed.

Collymore further stated that other employees would access the same kind of treatment as it is not just meant for the elite.

“If I were not CEO at Safaricom, if I worked at the call centre for instance, I would get the same medical access. I have 6 colleagues currently undergoing cancer treatment,” he said.

The CEO was also grateful to his wife Wambui Kamiru saying she made great sacrifices when he was unwell.

He added that during his treatment, he took time to reflect on Kenyans who could not afford cancer treatment and it saddened him.

“I had time to reflect while I was away, about that Kenyan who cannot afford such health care, whose cancer diagnosis comes when the disease has advanced in their body,” he stated.

Netizens were touched by his story and some asked him to mobilise Kenyans of goodwill to contribute towards setting up a modern cancer facility.

Bob Collymore Wife – Wambui Kamiru

Updated 4.4.2016

Safaricom chief executive Bob Collymore married his partner, Ms Wambui Kamiru, at an invite-only purple- and white-themed ceremony in Nairobi.

Collymore, who has been the CEO at Safaricom since 2010, wed Ms Kamiru at a private residence in Kitsuru, an upmarket residence in Nairobi.

The couple has not issued a public statement on their marriage, but reports indicated that the wedding took place on Saturday, even though pictures from the reception only surfaced and were shared widely on social media Sunday.

The bride is the Founder of The Art Space. According to her blog, The Art Space is an independent commercial art gallery situated on Riverside Drive in Nairobi.

Social media was on Sunday awash with photos that emerged of a white and purple themed celebration where stars, celebrities and high profile Kenyans joined the couple in celebrating their union.

Photographs show the couple beaming with joy with Collymore wearing a casual ,collarless linen suit of white while the bride stunned in a knee-length sheath dress. One image showed white petals raining on the couple while another was of the couple cutting an ombre-purple cake.

This is the second marriage for both the groom and the bride who have been reportedly dating for a number of years and have attended many social functions together.

Bob Collymore Wedding

Invited guests who included the Attorney General Githu Muigai, radio personality Caroline Mutoko, Kenya Film Commission’s Chris foot and talk-show host Jeff Koinange who all posted pictures of the celebration that appeared to feature a performance by Musician Juliani.

The guests congratulated the couple and commented on the joy of the occasion.

“Congratulations to Mrs and Mrs Collymore, finally ties the knot” tweeted Bharat Thakrar, the CEO of Scangroup, “They look happy (sic)” he said of the couple.

Ms Mutoko who did not congratulate the couple, posted several photos which included one with a cryptic caption inferring that she may have played a bigger role in the nuptials.

“@KoinangeJeff @bharatthakrar @alykhansatchu @ckfoot How did I do as “Best Person” ????”she asked.

Talk show host Jeff Koinange who was variously seen smoking a cigar and trying his hand at photography, posted a picture of the himself with the couple with a caption “Congrats Mr and Mrs @bobcollymore on your wedding..What a Wedding! What a Couple! What a Day! Somebody say OH MY!! (sic)”

Bob Collymore and his wife Wambui Kamiru
Bob Collymore and his wife Wambui Kamiru

Six Things We Learnt From Bob Collymore Wedding

It came as a shocker after photos of Safaricom boss Bob Collymore’s wedding with Wambui Kamiru were shared on social media a day after the big day.

Many were unaware as no blog or media house ran the story before the wedding day. Here are things that you can learn from the millionaire’s wedding:

Bob Collymore Wedding – Simplicity is key

Everyone agreed that the ceremony was kept as simple as possible, at least judging from the photos that were shared on social media. The bride donned a white dress as opposed to those bank breaking gowns and the cake was a simple air brushed three tier cake. Impressive for a man who earns Sh10 million a month.

Bob Collymore Wedding – Loyal friends matter

The wedding had the who is who in showbiz and business circles but none uttered a word until the ceremony was done and the couple away on honeymoon. News about the wedding started spreading on Sunday after all had been done and dusted. Ordinarily some spoilers start tweeting congratulations before the day starts giving the blogs a hint.

Bob Collymore Wedding – Your life, your business

Despite being a big deal in Kenya, Mr Collymore didn’t advertise his upcoming wedding to everyone who cared to listen. He wisely picked up a few friends who would witness the day and perhaps even briefed them that it was him wedding and not the company hence no one else needed to know.

Bob Collymore Wedding – Marital bliss can come at any age

Both Mr. and Mrs. Collymore had been divorced previously but that did not stop them from pursuing happiness. The two have shown that all matters is that one is happy and the past should remain just that – the past.

Bob Collymore Wedding – Love can be found anywhere

That Collymore was born in Guyana, lived in the United Kingdom only to later find love in Kenya shows that indeed love knows no boundaries. All you need is to embrace love wherever you find it and be happy.

Bob Collymore Wedding – It doesn’t matter what the haters think

Despite all the bile about the previous marriages the couple chose to live their lives. This is a lesson that it is your life and you should live it the way you wish with no apologies to anyone.

5 Things You Should Know About Bob Collymore Wife – Wambui Kamiru

Wambui Kamiru was married before

Wambui Kamiru was married to one Joseph Kinyua in 2007 and even had 3 children together, they were a happy family until Bob Collymore came to town, many have blamed Bob Collymore for the couple’s divorce. So this is her second marriage!

How Wambui Kamiru met Bob Collymore

Wambui Kamiru met Bob Collymore in a fundraiser for survivors of the Loreto Convent Msongari school bus crash that occurred in July 2011, thereafter Wambui Kamiru started going out with Collymore while still living with her husband and Bob Collymore even used to drop her at her marital home after their dates. After a legal divorce from her husband, Wambui Kamiru became ‘officially’ Bob’s girlfriend and the rest is history.

Wambui Kamiru is an artist

Ms. Wambui Kamiru is an artist and founder of The Art Spac – an Independent visual art space that comprises of a commercial gallery and alternative show spaces.

Wambui Kamiru an alumnus of Oxford University

Wambui Kamiru is not your average Kirinyaga girl, she has studied in some of the best schools in the world, she attended the Loreto Msongari, University of Maryland Baltimore County for a Bachelor’s degree then did her Masters at the University of Oxford.

Wambui Kamiru has three kids already

As stated earlier Wambui Kamiru was married before but divorced from her ex-husband- Joseph Kinyua after their marriage experienced some difficulties. She has three children from her former marriage with two of the kids being twins.

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Bob Collymore Interview

Bob Collymore News

EXCLUSIVE KTN NEWS INTERVIEW: Bob Collymore explains how Safaricom plans to remain profitable for many years.
Posted on: 8th Feb 2019

Bob Collymore is perhaps the most admired man in Kenya.
He is the Chief Executive Officer of Kenya’s most profitable company – Safaricom. While many of his peers are spending sleepless nights to keep companies profitable in a challenging business environment, Collymore faces other problems.
Safaricom is making a lot of money. I mean A LOT. Now that is a very good problem any CEO would die to have. For instance, as at this week, Safaricom’s latest product Fuliza had loaned more than Sh 6 billion to Kenyans!
Fuliza is a micro credit product that was launched on January 5, 2019 in partnership with two banks – CBA and KCB. Through Fuliza, MPesa users who run out of cash can borrow up to Sh 70,000 instantly. There are no forms needed, approvals or annoying paperwork to fill to access any amount of cash. Broken down, Safaricom is lending about Sh 200 million every day! At least they are saving trees since no paper is used.
SEE ALSO :Cancer: When suspicion should lead you to hospital

First media interview in 2019
In his first media interview in 2019, Collymore sat down with KTN News Business Editor Aby Agina. In the Trading Bell interview that will air on KTN News on Friday February 8, 2019 at 3.30pm, Collymore candidly opens up about running the multi-billion company, his health and what to expect in the telecom industry this year.
What keeps you awake at night? Agina asks Collymore. “People who don’t sleep well, don’t perform well,” he responds with a smile on his face. A person is supposed to sleep a maximum of seven to eight hours a day,” he says.
In 2017, Collymore started intensive treatment for cancer but he never lost the sparkle in his eyes and the warm smile. His baritone voice is even louder when he laughs. He is back in Kenya responding well to treatment and enjoying the warm weather.

In the interview, Collymore explains how Fuliza was started. He is categorical that for a company to be successful, it must understand the market needs and what the customer wants. “Fuliza is not about encouraging people to take debts but give them an opportunity to complete transactions when they have insufficient money in their M-Pesa accounts,” he says.
He attributes Safaricom’s success so far, to M-Pesa and the data business as well as their e-commerce platform Masoko. In the interview, he further reveals that the average data usage in a month in Kenya is 8.5MB. He says this will increase to between 3 and 5GB in the next three to five years.
Leading Safaricom with a team of 10 executives
Collymore had to take an extended time off work to seek treatment in England after he was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. This is a type of cancer that starts in the blood-forming cells of the bone marrow. He describes that phase of his life as one of the darkest points.
Despite his absence from work, he kept updated with what was going on. He credits the company’s success to 10 executives who he says are the engine of Safaricom. “Don’t send me your CVs, Safaricom is led by one person and managed by great executives of 10 people,” he chuckles.

Collymore is unapologetic for leading an innovative and successful company. “I can’t apologize for leading a company that understands customer needs. Instead, I will continue to spearhead investment in the sector,” he says.
Even though Collymore cannot shake hands with people often because of his low immunity, he promises Kenyans that Safaricom will continue to “shake” their lives through their developmental projects.