Bob Collymore: From art hawker to Safaricom CEO

By , K24 Digital
On Mon, 1 Jul, 2019 12:19 | 2 mins read

Bob Collymore, who died in the wee hours of Monday July 1, 2019, was born in 1958 in Guyana.

He was brought up by his grandparents before he moved to the United Kingdom to stay with his mother at age 16.

He attended Selhurst High School in the UK before he was offered a place at Warwick University, but had to “turn this down as he was ineligible for funding.”

Collymore, who in media interviews described himself as a man from a humble background, started earning money when he was 12-years-old while living with his grandmother in Guyana by selling art pieces from plasticine moulds.

He had a successful career in the corporate industry since 1993 when he started working in various positions in the telecommunications industry in the UK including Cellnet, Dixons Retail and Vodafone UK.

In 2003, he moved to Japan to spearhead the integration of J-Phone into the Vodafone Group.

In 2006, he became the governance director for Africa at Vodafone before he was appointed as Safaricom CEO in 2010.

He bagged many awards at his time in Safaricom most recently the CEO of the Year Award conferred by African Investor.

Collymore married his third wife, Wambui Kamiru, on 2 April 2016 in an invite-only wedding held at an upmarket residence in Kitisuru, Nairobi.

Collymore had taken a medical leave in October 2017 to fight cancer and had indicated that he owed the firm the time he spent in hospital hence the extension of his contract for a year to compensate for the period he was away on medical leave.

“I owe the company about one year. I am here until the year 2020,” he said last month on the sidelines of Shared Value Summit at Nairobi’s Radisson Blu hotel.

He was set to stay on at the helm of the firm until August.

He leaves behind his wife and four children.