Safaricom’s CEO Bob Collymore, has started medical leave to receive specialised treatment for a number of months. During this time, Sateesh Kamath, the current Chief Financial Officer for Safaricom who is also Mr. Collymore’s alternate on the Board, will take a primary role.
He will be supported by Joseph Ogutu who is the current Director – Strategy and Innovation, Safaricom. Mr. Ogutu will be responsible for Safaricom’s day-to-day operations until Mr. Collymore’s return from medical leave.
With over 20 years experience in both mature and emerging markets, Mr. Kamath has a strong background in strategic performance management and building robust operations across the telecoms, FMCG and manufacturing sectors.
On his part, Mr. Ogutu is the longest serving Executive Committee member in Safaricom. He has a long and distinguished career in the telecommunications industry spanning over 30 years, with rich experience across several parts of the company including the Corporate Affairs and Human Resource functions. He is currently also serves as the Chairman of the Safaricom Foundation.
“On behalf of the board, management and the entire Safaricom community, I wish Bob quick recovery and look forward to him resuming his duties as soon as doctors allow him to do so,” said Nicholas Ng’ang’a, Chairman, Safaricom Plc.
This comes after a politically heated season during which Collymore was caught between election rigging allegations after opposition leader Raila Odinga accused the Safaricom head for aiding in election illegalities.
Mr Odinga said that Safaricom was contracted by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to transmit election results from the polling stations to a server in France instead of transmitting them to Kenya
Bob Collymore then issued a statement in response to the accusation that touched on some of the Safaricom staff. The CEO said the company’s staff was falsely accused and put at risk by the allegations. He added that he will hold individuals responsible if any of the staff or their families is harmed.
The back and forth saw Safaricom lose at least 2 million subscribers in a mass exodus called for by opposition leader Raila Odinga.
The political crisis during the electioneering period put the company in a risky situation business-wise after it was prioritized as the most convenient telecom for transmission of election results.