The start of the new month has begun with the tragic passing of Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore. His death was announced by the company’s chairman, Nicholas Nganga in an official position statement. Bob succumbed to cancer at his home in the early hours of 1st July 2019. To commemorate his life, TopRanking Africa looks at the top 10 things you didn’t know about Bob Collymore.
10. Background information
He was born in Guyana and raised by his grandparents there. At the age of 16, he moved to join his mother in the United Kingdom, attending Selhurst High School.
What people don’t know about Bob is that he never attained a bachelor’s degree. He was actually offered a place at Warwick University but he had to turn the opportunity down as he was eligible for funding. This is an inspiration for students, like me, who believe anything is possible. I mean, he became a CEO without any degree; what’s my excuse? #NotComplaining.
8. Early career beginnings
Collymore worked in various positions in the telecommunications industry in the United Kingdom from 1993. He worked for Cellnet, Dixons Retail and Vodafone UK. He later moved to Japan in 2003 to manage the integration of J-Phone into the Vodafone Group. In 2006, he became the governance director for Africa at Vodafone and its subsidiary Safaricom.
He was later appointed as Chief Executive Officer of Safaricom in 2010 after the former CEO, Michael Joseph, announced his retirement. Bob retained his position until his untimely death.
7. Previous marriages
Bob announced in a local interview in late 2018 that he had been married three times but divorced twice. He actually considered his first marriage in his 20s as a mistake. Want to know why he got divorced the second time? The conduct of the marriage was a mistake. I’m not kidding, that’s what he said.
6. Marriage to a Kenyan woman
Up until his death, Bob was married to a Kenyan woman, Ms Clare Wambui. The wedding was an invite only event in Kitisuru Nairobi in April 2016. The couple met during during a fundraiser for survivors of a school bus crash that happened in July 2011. The rest was history. It is worth mentioning that the coming together of Bob and Clare did create a stir on social media.
5. His hustle
There is no doubt that he will still be an inspiration to future generations to come. His work ethic was worth admiring. For starters, he woke up at 0515 hours every day. Bob started money when he was 12 years old by selling art pieces from plasticine molds. What was I doing at that age? Getting ready for my national primary examinations.
4. He didn’t like Kenyan Food
Bob preferred Chinese and Indian recipes as compared to the likes of ugali, githeri and mukimo. Well, everyone has their preference, don’t they?
3. His Wealth
Mr. Collymore revealed that he was earning a monthly salary of $99000. One month salary was enough for him to be considered a millionaire. He also revealed that he was worth over $2 million in assets and cash both in Kenya and overseas. You can try to guess what his leisure activities were…
2. Leisure activities
Bob enjoying flying helicopters and cycling. Remember he never went to university and he was able to fly helicopters whenever he wanted to. Let that sink in.
1. Illness and Death
Collymore traveled to the United Kingdom in October 2017 to receive treatment for acute myeloid leukemia. He returned to Kenya in July 2018 to resume his duties as CEO of Safaricom while undergoing treatment at a number of hospitals. His condition worsened in June 2019, and he died at his home on the morning of 1 July.
Rest In Peace Bob Collymore