NAIROBI, KENYA: Safaricom Board has appointed Michael Joseph as an interim Chief Executive Officer following the Monday death of Bob Collymore.
A statement by company secretary Kathryne Maundu said Michael Joseph will assume the position with immediate effect after a special board meeting resolved so.
Mr Joseph is currently the Chairman of Kenya Airways and previously served as the Chief Executive Officer of Safaricom.
“Mr. Joseph will hold this position until the Board communicates in due course on a permanent appointment,” said Maundu.
Bob Collymore, 61, died on Monday at his Nairobi home following a battle with cancer of the blood.
Mr Collymore, who took the top job with the Kenyan company in 2010, oversaw an increase of nearly 500 per cent in its share value thanks to the popular mobile money transfer service M-Pesa and a growing customer base.
He had agreed in May to serve another year in the role after the government, which owns 35 per cent of the company, insisted that a local be picked to succeed him, complicating the hiring process.
Mr Joseph revealed in an interview with KTN lifestyle that together with five of his colleagues seconded by Vodafone started Safaricom in 2000 building up the company at an apartment in Norfolk Towers.
They took over the assets from Telkom Kenya which included 11 base stations in Nairobi. At the time he was starting the company people registered many complaints about its services.
“We did not know that Safaricom would grow to what it is at the moment, making billions of shillings in profit and changing lives through products such as the M-pesa,” he said.
“It has not been a smooth ride for Safaricom,” he said.
“Because when we started we had no data about Kenyans, what we had was a business plan developed by Vodafone guys saying that we might or might not be successful in five years’ time giving us a projection of four or five hundred thousand customers within that period and plan also said chances of failure was also high.”
He recalled the biggest challenge in setting up Safaricom at that time was lack of data documenting economic trends in Kenya, basically how much people earned and the spending culture.
In 2016, Mr Joseph was appointed the Chairman of Kenya Airways at a time when the national carrier was and is still experiencing financial challenges.
“There will be a private interment process on Tuesday for the late Bob Collymore but later on in the week, hopefully, Thursday or Friday, there will be a memorial service for all those who knew and cared for Mr Collymore,” Board Chairman Nicholas Nganga said on Monday.
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