Safaricom Ltd., Kenya’s biggest mobile-phone company, has named Bob Collymore to replace Michael Joseph as chief executive officer from Nov. 1.Collymore, 52, was chief officer for corporate affairs at Johannesburg-based Vodacom Group Ltd. before his new appointment, Safaricom said in an e-mailed statement from the capital, Nairobi, today.
Joseph, who has been chief executive officer of Safaricom since it began operations in 2000, said in an April interview that the 2008 initial public offering prospectus gave him the option to retire at the end of 2009. Joseph would only leave the company “when a successor is in place,” he said.“We started with five people and we built this company to what it is today. I can’t just walk away from this company, which I consider to be my baby, with no successor in place,” Joseph said.He was directly contracted by Vodafone Plc, which owns 40 percent of the Kenyan company. Before joining Vodafone, Joseph worked for telecommunications companies in Hungary, Spain, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Korea, United States, Australia and the Middle East, Safaricom said on its website. Vodacom is controlled by Vodafone.An American citizen with a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Cape Town, Joseph has specialized in license acquisition, construction of new networks, turnaround management and start-up of new operations during his career that spans over 40 years, Safaricom said.
Kenya’s biggest company by market value, Safaricom started as a department of Kenya Posts & Telecommunications Corp., a state-owned monopoly that was later transformed into Telkom Kenya Ltd., Safaricom said.The mobile-phone department was set up in 1993 based on an analogue network that was upgraded to GSM technology in 1996.Safaricom was incorporated in April 1997, awarded its operating license in 1999 and began commercial operations in October 2000, Safaricom said.
Safaricom competes with Telkom Kenya Ltd. a unit of France Telecom SA, India’s Bharti Airtel and Essar Telecom Kenya Ltd, a unit of Essar Group of India.
Robert William Collymore (Bob) until his appointment served as Governance Director for Africa at Vodafone He also served as Purchasing Director for UK business of Vodafone. Mr Collymore has spent most of his career in the telecommunications industry starting with British Telecommunications where he held a number of marketing, purchasing and commercial roles over a 15 year period. From 1994 to 1998, he served as Purchasing Director for Dixons Stores Group, the largest electrical retailer in the UK. Mr. Collymore served as Global Handset Purchasing Director of Vodafone since 2000 and responsible for its handset business across 26 countries and in 2003, he moved to Japan in the more commercial role of Consumer Marketing Director (Asia). He has been Non Executive Director of Safaricom Limited since September 5, 2006. He served as Non Executive Director of Vodacom Group (Proprietary) Limited from September 2006 to February 24, 2009. He moved to the United Kingdom in 1974 where he completed his formal education.