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Safaricom appoints former CEO to replace deceased Bob Collymore

Safaricom appoints former CEO to replace deceased Bob Collymore


Kenya’s largest telecoms company Safaricom on Tuesday appointed board member Michael Joseph as interim chief executive officer after its long-time executive Bob Collymore died of cancer.

Collymore, the chief executive who helped to turn Safaricom into East Africa’s most profitable company with an $11 billion valuation, died on Monday after a nearly two-year battle with cancer.

“The board is confident that during this transition, Mr. Joseph will provide the necessary guidance and leadership to the company and its employees,” Safaricom said in a statement.

Joseph’s stellar record

Joseph served as Safaricom’s CEO between July 2000 and November 2010.

Safaricom said Joseph, an electrical engineer, had transformed the telecom from a subscriber base of less than 20,000 to over 16.71 million during his previous tenure as CEO.

In his last full year as CEO Safaricom posted a 37 percent rise in pretax profit.

Joseph also presided over the company during its IPO in 2008 and pioneered Kenya’s successful M-Pesa mobile money transfer system.

At present Safaricom is 35% owned by South Africa’s Vodacom and controls about 62% of Kenya’s mobile market with 30 million subscribers. Vodafone Group has a 5% stake.

Joseph told Reuters he would continue in his role as chairman of Kenya Airways.

He also serves as Vodafone’s director of Mobile Money and a strategic adviser on the boards of Vodacom South Africa, Vodacom Tanzania VODA.TZ and Vodacom Mozambique, information on Safaricom’s website showed.


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