Safaricom’s boss’ tenure in the telecommunications company is almost coming to an end. CEO Bob Collymore is expected to serve until August this year after which his contract will be rendered expired. The CEO took over from former boss Michael Joseph in 2010, which later saw his reign renewed in 2013 for two years.
Even though the board of directors has not said a word about the contract renewal thus far, it is anticipated Kenyans might be seeing more of Collymore after August if only the company does not have an open succession plan.
Until 2010, telecommunication’s competition in Kenya was not loud as it is today. Even though Safaricom still leads, the pace setter has influenced improved operations in rival companies who have declared the top dog a threat to their business.
At the time, voice calls and text message revenues were most depended on by the company which was not doing very well in terms of profits. Safaricom was not big in service provision regionally and neither was it a top dog in the NSE. Back in 2010, the company’s price share was the Ksh 5 IPO price. Today, the market price share is at ksh 15.90 with almost 5million shares traded.
During the reign of Collymore, the company has made notable milestones in the market; by 2015 Safaricom’s Non-voice service revenue grew 26.6%, now 40.2% of total revenue, revenue growth of: SMS +12.9% Mobile data +52.9%. The Fixed service has gone up +22.1%, M-PESA +24.7% and Other service revenue +31.1% (Okoa Jahazi).
The era has also seen emerge of products like M-shwari, Lipa na M-pesa as well as okoa jahazi bundles and airtime launched, not to forget partnerships with various financial institutions which has made it easier for the common mwananchi to access credit. The spread use of the services and products has therefore increased customer base by 4.9% compared to the last quarter of 2014 which was at 20.82 million customers.
The company has seen improved prepay airtime distribution thus far with Improved prepay airtime distribution of Top-up cards distributed in over 270,000 retail outlets and 42 own retail shops, 36.6% of airtime top-ups directly through M-PESA and 29.3% increase in emergency top ups (Okoa Jahazi).
Safaricom’s service merits go on and on as the public’s confidence and loyalty to the company declines by day. The company has recently received backlash from service users who have openly declared switching to other mobile operators on social media following stringent conditions in mobile data use as well expensive data bundle packages restraining the users from enjoying data use.
Collymore has been in the middle of these fights with Kenyans claiming deceit following wooing terms and promises the CEO gave when he first interacted with the public. Incase Mr. Collymore’s contract is revamped, he will not only resume harsh public response over exaggerated rates and conditions but also deal with new rules by the communication Authority set to govern the telecommunication industry.
Safaricom has claimed unfair regulation in case the rules are gazetted come June, pointing out that the regulations are meant to choke the market leader and not provide equality. The next move depends whether the board most values customer relation or viciously growing revenues for the company.