Kenyans woke up to the sad news of Bob Collymore’s death. The Chief Executive Officer of Safaricom PLC succumbed to myeloid leukemia at 2.30am on Monday July 1, 2019 at his home in Nairobi.
Safaricom Chairperson Nicholas Ng’ang’a announced the heartbreaking news through a press statement on Twitter and Facebook attracting condolence messages from Kenyans to the family, friends, and colleagues of Collymore with President Uhuru Kenyatta, the DP William Ruto, and Raila Odinga joining them in mourning the man behind the success of Kenya’s biggest telecommunication company.
Bob was misdiagnosed with vitamin D deficiency but he was not satisfied with the results. With extra tests in the UK, a haematologist diagnosed him with acute myeloid leukemia, which is a type of cancer that affects the blood forming cells of the bone marrow.
He knew that he did not have much time to live and was prepared for his demise. Citizen TV’s Jeff Koinange who is a close friend has revealed that Bob told him he did not have much time to live. His doctors said he would be lucky if he made it past July. Koinange had lunch with Collymore on Saturday June 29, 2019.
He has left behind four children and a wife Wambui Kamiru.
Who is Bob Collymore?
Robert (Bob) William Collymore was a Guyana-born British national born on January 13, 1958. Guyana is a country found in South America bordering Brazil, Suriname, and Venezuela.
His mum was a single mother and he was the only black child in the school he attended in the UK. He qualified to joined university but lacked funding.
Before joining Safaricom, he worked at Vodacom as the Chief Officer of Corporate Affairs and a Governance Director at Vodafone.
He was the longest serving CEO at Safaricom beginning November 2010 and his term was to end in August 2019 but his contract was extended to August 2020. He has spent time seeking treatment and asked the company to add him more time to serve.
On May 8 2019, he was Appointed a board member of the National Cancer Institute.
More about Bob Collymore
Collymore went to Selhurst High School in the United Kingdom. He was called to Warwick University but lacked funds.
Bob grew up with his grandparents in Guyana and moved to the UK at 16 to live with his mother.
He wedded Clare Wambui Kamiru, an artist and founder of The Art Space, in April 2016 in Kitisuru. He was married twice and divorced before meeting Wambui.
According to Collymore, his first marriage was a mistake as he was in his 20s while the second was not a mistake but it did not happen the right way.
He had a daughter and son with his second wife and was father to Wambui’s two sons.
After missing to join university, he worked as a junior underwriter and train announcer.
January 1978-July 1994: Held management roles at British Telcom
July 1994-july 1995: Joined Cellnet as a strategy manager and worked as a Purchasing Director at Dixons Stores group till 1998
December 1998-July 2000: joined Vodafone Group as a Handset Purchasing Director and in July 2000, he became the Global handset purchasing director until April 2003.
April 2003—April 2006: Market Director Asia
September 2006-september 2010: Governance Director of Vodafone in Africa
November 2010-June 2019: Started working at Safaricom as the CEO
In 2018, Collymore’s net worth was Sh277milion with a home in London worth Sh54mllion and Sh18.3million shares at Safaricom.