It is with great sorrow and humble acceptance of God’s will that we announce the untimely demise of Robert William (Bob) Collymore, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Safaricom PLC. Much beloved by all who knew him, Bob was a force whose influence transcended borders, industry and community. His infectious verve for life will be missed by his immediate family, the Safaricom community and many more who were touched by his belief that we can achieve more when we come together to solve society’s problems.Locally, Bob was best known as the CEO of Safaricom, where he led a family of 6,000 staff in identifying new ways to empower people to use mobile technologies to transform lives. He previously worked as a senior leader for Vodafone, spearheading their strategic investments for Africa as the Chief of Corporate Affairs and as Governance Director. Prior to that, he worked for British Telecom, Cellnet and Dixon’s in progressively senior roles developing strategic initiatives that merged the growing influence of mobile telecommunications with the transformative power of industry, to create solutions that could make a difference in the lives of all Kenyans. Beyond working to ensure that more Kenyans were able to access telecommunications services, he spearheaded Safaricom’s vision to enhance access to essential services via the mobile phone. Notably, he led the Safaricom team to deepen the influence of financial inclusion through M-PESA and was instrumental in launching m-Learning, m-Energy and m-Health solutions to further that vision.His passion for helping those affected by natural disasters saw him freely volunteer his time and resources to disaster relief initiatives such as Kenyans for Kenya. While at Safaricom, he also led several efforts to support sports including sponsoring rugby, athletics and football.
His passion for music led to the creation of the Safaricom Jazz Festival, which showcased internationally recognised musical acts to encourage support for under-privileged children in Kenya. Beyond his day-to-day work, Bob was globally recognised for his efforts to create more inclusive and sustainable business models. He believed that businesses could not be successful if they did not work to the benefit of the communities they represented. Through his determination, he was appointed to the Global Commission on Business and Sustainable Development by the UN Secretary-General and was a member of the UN Private Sector Leadership Advisory Council. His impetus as a UN Global Compact Member was instrumental to the development of a strong Kenyan chapter and was a Commissioner on the United Nations Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for women and children.He was a Board Member of the Vision 2030 Secretariat, a Founding Trustee of the National Road Safety Trust, Chairman and Founder of Kenyans for Kenya and spearheaded initiatives through the Diabetic Management Institute (DMI). He was recognised as a Moran of Burning Spear (MBS) for his efforts to support Kenyan society.At heart, Bob was a man of the people. He was equally at home spending time with children from all walks of life as he was with global leaders. Arguably, he was more content working with people at a grassroots level than he was championing their cause on international platforms. In 2017, in the middle of his fruitful career, Bob was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, a disease he valiantly fought until his demise in the early hours of Monday 1st July, 2019.He is survived by his extended family in Guyana, the United Kingdom and here in Kenya. He leaves behind his wife Wambui, four children, his mother, his sister, a niece and a nephew.FUNERAL ANNOUNCEMENTThere will be a Memorial service
to celebrate Bob’s life on
Thursday, 4th July 2019 starting at 11am at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi. The Cathedral will open at 9am, and guests are requested to be seated by 10:30am. There will be no parking available at the venue, limited space will be available in Uhuru Park. The memorial will also be aired on national television stations, and members of the public shall be able to view a livestream in Uhuru Park.Also, as a mark of respect for our cherished leader, Safaricom shall be closing all our shops countrywide on Thursday, 4th July 2019 between the hours of 10.30am and 2.30pm to enable his wider family to reflect on his life.