The death of Safaricom #ticker:SCOM CEO Bob Collymore returns to the fore the critical question of succession at the helm of the country’s largest company.
Collymore’s contract, which was originally due to expire next month, was in May extended by a year to August 2020.
His announcement on May 23 that he had agreed to stay on for an additional year seemed to have quelled the debate over his succession, at least for the time being, and bought both the government and Vodacom time to negotiate an agreement.
Both the Treasury and South African telco Vodacom hold a 35 percent stake in Safaricom, while Vodacom’s British parent, Vodafone, holds five percent shares.
Speaking at a press briefing yesterday morning, Safaricom chairman Nicholas Ng’ang’a said that the board is clear on the succession question.
The Safaricom board was due to meet yesterday afternoon to deliberate on Mr Collymore’s successor.
The announcement is likely to be made today and there is a likelihood that a foreigner will be appointed to the position.
“Although the details of his (the late Collymore’s) condition were not always public, the board of directors was aware of the need to have a plan of succession in place, and we shall be giving the way forward in the next 24 hours,” said Mr Ng’ang’a at the briefing.
TV personality Jeff Koinange, a friend of Mr Collymore, yesterday said on Citizen TV that Safaricom was already in the process of installing a new CEO, after being informed by Mr Collymore that he was unlikely to make it through the one year extension.
The late Collymore came to the helm of Safaricom in 2010, succeeding Michael Joseph who had led the firm through a number of milestones including listing at the NSE and the establishment of M-Pesa.
Building on these successes, Mr Collymore greatly expanded the visibility of the office in line with the growth of the company, hence the huge interest in his succession.
To the government, Safaricom is the single-biggest source of investment income, earning it Sh26.22 billion in dividends for the year ended March 2019 and billions more in direct and indirect taxes.
On Monday, various business leaders sent their condolences to Collymore’s family and friends.
“Bob distinguished himself as an exemplary, visionary, innovative and dynamic corporate leader of our times,” said Equity Bank Group CEO James Mwangi in a statement.