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Safaricom starts hunt for Collymore replacement

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Safaricom starts hunt for Collymore replacement by Kenyans247(m): Tue Sep 2019 12:50pm
Safaricom has started the process of recruiting a new chief executive officer to replace the late Bob Collymore, acting CEO Michael Joseph has disclosed.

Mr Joseph told shareholders at the firm’s AGM last Friday that the recruitment process has been ongoing and was now at an advanced stage.

“I cannot promise you when the new CEO will be coming. However, we are interviewing some applicants,” he told shareholders.

The identity of the next person to take charge of the country’s largest listed frim has elicited public interest and debate in recent weeks, especially given the stature of the late Collymore in the eyes of the public.

Part of the intrigue has been driven by a perceived tussle between the government and majority shareholder, UK telco Vodafone, which has traditionally appointed the CEO while the government nominates the board chairman.
Vodafone Group PLC owns a 40 percent stake in the firm, held through its South African subsidiary, Vodacom, which holds 35 percent and Vodafone Kenya Limited, which holds the remaining five percent.

The government holds a 35 percent stake in the firm, with the public owning the remaining 25 percent.

Board's choice

Last month, ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru said that the government would go with the board’s choice of CEO, allaying earlier claims that the State was determined to push through the appointment of a Kenyan to the job.

Several Kenyan CEOs have either expressed interest or been interviewed for the job.
The late Collymore was originally due to leave his post this month but had received a one-year extension (announced in May) until 2020 to compensate for the nine months leave that he had taken to seek treatment abroad.

He, however, passed away less than three months into the extension of his term.

The Guyana-born British citizen took charge of Safaricom in 2010 on a three-year contract after Mr Joseph, the company’s founding CEO, retired.

He had his term renewed for another three years. This was expected to end in August 2016, but was renewed for two more years till August this year.

Following his death, the board opted for the tried pair of hands of Mr Joseph to lead the firm through the transition period. Mr Joseph has held the brief since although he has maintained a low profile.

Important role

Interest in the leadership of Safaricom is underlined by the increasingly important role the firm plays in the Kenyan economy, especially through its mobile payment platform M-Pesa, which has become an integral part of the country’s monetary system and economic intermediation.

The company, whose net profit grew by 14.7 percent to Sh63.4 billion in the year ended March 2019, said in its latest sustainability report that its value to the economy stood at Sh601 billion by the end of March, sustaining 979,000 direct and indirect jobs.

The firm also accounts for about half of the total value of the Nairobi Securities Exchange.

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