On Monday, July 1st 2019 Kenyans woke up to sad news that Safaricom’s SEO Bob Collymore had lost his battle against cancer.
“It is with deep sorrow that we announce the passing away of Robert (Bob) William Collymore CEO of Safaricom, PLC. Which occurred at his home in the morning of 1st July 2019.” Safaricom chairman Nicholas Nga’nga said in a statement.
Uhuru Kenya, Kenya’s president sent out a tweet that Kenya had just lost one of its distinguished leaders who would be greatly missed.
"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
- Early life
Bob Collymore was born in Guyana in 1958 and lived with his grandparents until he reached the age of 16. He later joined his mother at the United Kingdom where he attended Selhurst high school before pursuing further studies.
Collymore’s first stint in the corporate was recorded in 1974 where he was responsible for various management roles. Working in the telecommunication industry across the globe including the UK and Asia, his career continued to soar higher landing him in Kenya as the CEO of Safaricom PLC.
Last year Safaricom PLC declared a record of Ksh 63.4 billion profit. Since he took over profits have been increasing year on year since he took over from his predecessor Michael Joseph.
- Love and marriage
Trust a witty man to know the key to a girls heart. Bob Collymore married Wambui Kamiru in April 2016. The invitation-only wedding happened in Kitisuru. Collymore met Kamiru in Nairobi during a fundraiser for survivors of the Loreto Convent Msongari school bus crash that occurred on July 2011. Bob had two children from his previous marriage and became the stepfather to Wambui’s children.
After being misdiagnosed with vitamin D deficiency, in 2017 Collymore was later diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia prompting him to take a medical leave in order to receive treatment. In July 2018, he returned to Kenya from the UK to resume his duties as CEO of Safaricom while undergoing treatment at a number of hospitals. His condition worsened in June 2019, and he died at his home early on 1st July 2019.
“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 and he succumbed to cancer at his home in the early hours on Monday.” Mr Nga’nga said.
Bob leaves a widow Wambui Kamiru and 4 children.
Bob Collymore was passionate about social causes, philanthropy children and jazz. He inspired young and the old through ventures that transformed lives. He started the Safaricom Jazz festival whose proceeds supported the kids of Ghetto Classics. Safaricom Jazz: Interview with Bob Collymore
I’ve signed @BlackQueenSN and @ONECampaign’s petition to demand the criminalisation of rape in Senegal. Together, we can put an end to gender-based violence @oneenafrique. #StopSexualViolence #Doyna https://t.co/jBxTJuyver
— Bob Collymore (@bobcollymore) June 29, 2019
“Don’t just invite me to the ball; ask me to dance“, says Collymore.
He will be remembered by many for his distinguished leadership, mentorship and a character that spoke of humility.
- Social media moments
It is no secret that the late CEO was intelligent. However, what’s not hard to miss was his good sense of humour. Evident from his tweets, banter between friends and colleagues his puns and jabs enabled him to approach life with a good-natured attitude.
— Bob Collymore (@bobcollymore) March 19, 2015
Bob Collymore will be remembered fondly by Kenyans.