Collymore returns to an 11% increase in Safaricom shares

Bob Collymore, the chief executive officer of Safaricom, Kenya’s biggest telecoms operator is back at work after a nine-month absence for medical treatment.

“I’m back. Thanks to everyone who supported me over the past 9 months especially the clinical team at University College London Hospitals, my superb Safaricom Plc team and of course, my wife Wambui,” Collymore announced via Twitter.

Following his return on Monday, Collymore appeared before the Kenyan parliament’s Communications Committee to address legislative and regulatory gaps that are affecting competition in the telecoms sector. With Safaricom well run in his absence, it is not surprising that Collymore’s first official duty was a meeting with legislators. The importance of the issue up for discussion may also explain why the Safaricom chief executive had to show up at the Parliament as soon as he returned. But regardless of the significance of the issue or the lack of it, Collymore sure felt better walking into the parliament knowing Safaricom runs well.

In his absence, Chief Financial Officer Sateesh Kamath and Joe Ogutu, director of strategy and innovation jointly managed the company, returning a share increase of 11 percent to 28.00 shillings ($0.2792) during the period. The company had also reported an annual profit of Sh55.29 in the year that ended March 2018.

While he received treatment in London, Collymore didn’t detach from the company and he probably even joined some meetings. He followed the company’s activities in Kenya closely and tweeted about some of them.
He probably also listened to a lot of jazz, and even had the Safaricom jazz concert livestreamed to him. Yes, one of his tweets while he was away also indicated that he listened live to a jazz show on Kenya’s Capital FM. Sure, he attended his son’s graduation and brainstormed on new initiatives and what to do better to further drive Safaricom’s growth.

Collymore became Safaricom’s chief executive in 2010 and has contributed to the growth of the company partly owned by South Africa’s Vodacom. His second term was expected to end last August, but it was renewed for two more years.


Collymore told lawmakers at the meeting on Monday that he does not think Safaricom is hindering competition in Kenya. Reacting to the Communications Authority of Kenya’s (CA) May draft proposal that the telco should allow rivals use its transmission sites and vast network of mobile money outlets, Collymore said 30 million customers decided on their own to get onto Safaricom’s network.

The Communications Committee is considering whether there are measures it could take to boost competition in the Kenyan mobile market, 67 percent of which is controlled by Safaricom. The other big players Bharti Airtel’s Kenyan unit and Telkom Kenya control 19.7 percent and 8.6 percent market share respectively.