Bob Collymore Biography

Bob Collymore whose full name is Robert William Collymore was born in 1958. He is a Guyanan- born British based in Kenya. He is the Chief Executive Officer of Safaricom, a multinational tele-communication company.

As head of Safaricom, which is 40 per cent owned by Vodafon of the UK, the 55-year-old leads a company seen as a national institution but that is often accused of monopolistic tendencies. Bob Collymore uses the word “dominant” before correcting himself. “Why don’t we call it ubiquitous … I think that’s a nice word.”

Safaricom has 19 m customers in a country of 44m, which translates to nearly every adult. It reported revenues of KSh116.5bn ($1.3bn) last year and has developed an international reputation for innovation

Bob Collymore Early Life

Bob Collymore was raised by his grandparents in Guyana for 12 years and when he was 16 his mother, who had moved to the UK, brought him to join her in London. As the only black child in his class, he tried to be “wallpaper” to avoid getting beaten up.

After school, he had to forgo a place at Warwick University because he was not eligible for funding. “I wanted to go to university and I disliked not having gone and for some years after I wished I’d gone,” he says. “Now it doesn’t matter, [but] I would always advise a young person to go to the best university you can find.”

Unable to pursue a degree, Bob Collymore spent his time filling forms as a junior underwriter and working as a train announcer while pursuing his passion for “surrealist stuff”.

Were it not for his mother, he might still be selling his oil paintings along the railings of Hyde Park. But she joked she would evict him unless he got a serious job and got him an interview at British Telecom, where she worked. He was given an entry-level job as a clerical officer.

Bob Collymore Career

Bob Collymore career took off when he joined the UK’s Cellnet in 1993, just as the corporate world was starting to venture into mobile telephony. “I was walking down a path no one else had walked and I thought, ‘this is good because the rules aren’t written and I’m just going to make the rules up as I go’,” he says. “We took some risks. This change thing – it is actually quite exciting, it’s good, and you will make mistakes and you will stumble and fall and that’s quite neat.”

The hankering after new ground and love of adaptability has served him well. “I didn’t go to the smart university; this is probably the only thing which has ever distinguished me,” he says. “Nothing beats this job.”

Bob Collymore Job History

September 2010 – Present: CEO at Safaricom

February 2009 – September 2010 : Chief Officer Corporate Affairs, Vodacom

September 2006 – February 2009 : Governance Director, Africa, Vodafone

  • Lead and coordinate the governance-related strategies and activities for Vodafone’s holding in Africa
  • Ensure adherence to relevant shareholder agreements.
  • Lead and develop joint projects that improve the operational performance of the African operations.
  • Partner with the local management on key projects in areas of customer service, marketing and product development.
  • Lead and facilitate the sharing and dissemination of best practices into and out of Africa to deliver efficiencies in business improvement and operational performance.
  • Support the formulation of the financial forecasts for Vodafone’s African operations, with adjustments ranging up to $100M, and influence management to meet the KPIs.
  • Represent Vodafone as a key foreign investor in Southern Africa and Kenya

April 2003 – April 2006 : Marketing Director, Asia, Vodafone Group

  • Initiated the Vodafone 3G terminals convergence programme for Europe and Japan.
  • Mobilised the worldwide handset vendor community behind the Vodafone 3G handset programme.
  • Re-engineered the terminal development process in Japan which resulted in reduced cost and improved time to market.
  • Established and led a 60 strong Group team in Japan to successfully launch a range of new handsets and mobile content to the Japanese market.
  • Led the strategic relationship with Japanese handset vendors on behalf of Vodafone Group.

July 2000 – April 2003 : Global Handset Purchasing Director, Vodafone Group

  • Led a major organisation re-design to integrate the handset supply chain activities across the Vodafone group of subsidiaries and affiliates.
  • Exceeded cost saving targets of £33m by 30% following the Group’s acquisitions of Airtouch and Mannesmann.
  • Led the consolidation of handset specification and testing across the Vodafone Group companies including subsidiaries, affiliates and partners.
  • Led a number of key product development initiatives to support the Group’s technology and marketing rollout, most notably the launch of the first camera phones and of Vodafone Live! in 2002.

December 1998 – July 2000: Handset Purchasing Director, Vodafone UK

  • Integrated the handset purchasing operation across the Vodafone UK organisation in 1999.
  • Led the re-modelling of the Vodafone UK Pre-paid handset business
  • Built effective relationships with the handset vendors and achieved on-target cost savings.
  • Consolidated the UK warehouse, distribution and service operations into an outsourced organisation.

July 1994 – December 1998: Purchasing Director of Dixons Stores Group

  • Grew the Dixons market share from around 5% to more than 10% of the UK cellular market and more than 25% of the fixed terminals market.
  • Responsible for developing and managing relationships with key network and hardware suppliers.
  • As a board member of Dixons Group Purchasing Ltd, had an integral role in the development of the Group’s purchasing strategy.

1994 – 1998: Purchasing Director, Dixons Group Plc

July 1994 – July 1995 : Handset Strategy Manager,Cellnet

  • Responsible for working with the handset suppliers to develop terminal functionality that optimised the services of the network
  • Developed a handset strategy for Cellnet that leveraged the infrastructure trading relationship.
  • Introduced a number of new suppliers to the UK market.
  • Key member of a small team that delivered a number of affinity projects across the automotive and banking sectors, most notably the launch of the Barclaycard Phone.

January 1978 – July 1994: Various Management Roles at British Telecom

  • A number of purchasing, marketing and corporate relations roles in British Telecom.
  • Responsibilities ranged from training, making corporate training videos, purchasing a range of consumer products and managing BT’s range of cordless telephones and mobile handsets.

Bob Collymore Award

In 2012 Bob Collymore was awarded the Moran of the Burning Spear (MBS)

Bob Collymore Wealth

In Bob Collymore individual assets declaration 2015, Collymore revealed he earns Ksh 10 Million a month, adding up to close to Sh109 million per year.

The Safaricom boss is also worth over Sh200 million in assets and cash both in Kenya and overseas.

Bob Collymore, who has been working for over 30 years, has a residential house in London, UK worth USD 530,000 (about Ksh53,000,000), cash balances in local banks worth USD 203,000 (about Ksh20,300,000), Safaricom Limited shares worth USD180,000 (about Ksh18,000,000) and Vodafone PLC shares worth USD871,000 (about Ksh 87,000,000).

He also declared his dividends and income of USD 5,800 (about Ksh580,000) in the last 12 months.

Bob Collymore Nationality

Bob Collymore is a Guyanese native.

Bob Collymore Children

Bob Collymore has two children which he got with his first wife before they separated. After marring Wambui Kamiru he will now be taking care of Wambui’s 3 children.

10 things to Know About Bob Collymore

  1. Bob Collymore’s full name is Robert William Collymore.
  2. He is originally from Guyana, a country in South America.
  3. He went to school in Guyana but at the age of 16 moved to the UK with his family.
  4. He started earning money when he was 12-years-old by selling art pieces from plasticine moulds.
  5. Collymore’s first real job was as an office boy when he was 16-years-old.
  6. The Safaricom Boss wakes up at 5.15am everyday.
  7. During his early years, Collymore wanted to be a painter and he says he would still want to be one.
  8. He does not like Kenyan food but rather prefers Chinese and Indian foods.
  9. He is 57 years old and a father of two children. A Son, 21 years old who schools in the UK, and an adopted daughter, 7 years.
  10. Bob enjoys flying helicopters. He spends upwards of Sh 35,000 an hour hiring a chopper. In an interview some years back, he said that’s how most of his money is spent.

Bob Collymore News

Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore Takes Indefinite Medical Leave

Updated: 30.10.2017

Telecoms operator Safaricom on Monday said chief executive Bob Collymore had taken medical leave to receive specialised treatment for a “number of months”.

Company chairman Nicholas Ng’ang’a made the announcement in a circular to employees, but did not disclose the nature of Mr Collymore’s sickness.

“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 the doctors allow him to do so,” he said.

In his absence, Safaricom chief financial officer Sateesh Kamath will take a “primary role,” the circular said, adding that he will be supported by Joseph Ogutu – the company’s director of Strategy and Innovation.

The circular said Mr Ogutu has taken charge of Safaricom’s day-to-day operations until Mr Collymore’s return from medical leave. Mr Collymore, 59, a Guyanan-born British citizen, took charge of Safaricom in 2010 on a three-year contract, after the company’s founding CEO, Michael Joseph, retired and had his term renewed for another three years.

His second term was expected to end last August, but was renewed for two more years.

The extension was seen as a pointer to the telco’s preference for stability rather than change as it navigated a difficult operating environment characterised by ever changing regulations.

“You don’t rock a boat when it is sailing smoothly and beautifully,” said Mr Ng’ang’a.

Mr Collymore’s time at the helm has seen Safaricom’s revenues hit Sh212.9 billion in the year to March 2017 from Sh83.96 billion in 2010.

This has enabled Safaricom to cement its leadership in mobile money even as it continues to command market leadership in voice, mobile data and SMS services.

Adopted from Business Daily Africa

Bob Collymore Wife – Wambui Kamiru

Updated 4.4.2016

Safaricom chief executive Bob Collymore married his partner, Ms Wambui Kamiru, at an invite-only purple- and white-themed ceremony in Nairobi.

Collymore, who has been the CEO at Safaricom since 2010, wed Ms Kamiru at a private residence in Kitsuru, an upmarket residence in Nairobi.

The couple has not issued a public statement on their marriage, but reports indicated that the wedding took place on Saturday, even though pictures from the reception only surfaced and were shared widely on social media Sunday.

The bride is the Founder of The Art Space. According to her blog, The Art Space is an independent commercial art gallery situated on Riverside Drive in Nairobi.

Social media was on Sunday awash with photos that emerged of a white and purple themed celebration where stars, celebrities and high profile Kenyans joined the couple in celebrating their union.

Photographs show the couple beaming with joy with Collymore wearing a casual ,collarless linen suit of white while the bride stunned in a knee-length sheath dress. One image showed white petals raining on the couple while another was of the couple cutting an ombre-purple cake.

This is the second marriage for both the groom and the bride who have been reportedly dating for a number of years and have attended many social functions together.

Bob Collymore Wedding

Invited guests who included the Attorney General Githu Muigai, radio personality Caroline Mutoko, Kenya Film Commission’s Chris foot and talk-show host Jeff Koinange who all posted pictures of the celebration that appeared to feature a performance by Musician Juliani.

The guests congratulated the couple and commented on the joy of the occasion.

“Congratulations to Mrs and Mrs Collymore, finally ties the knot” tweeted Bharat Thakrar, the CEO of Scangroup, “They look happy (sic)” he said of the couple.

Ms Mutoko who did not congratulate the couple, posted several photos which included one with a cryptic caption inferring that she may have played a bigger role in the nuptials.

“@KoinangeJeff @bharatthakrar @alykhansatchu @ckfoot How did I do as “Best Person” ????”she asked.

Talk show host Jeff Koinange who was variously seen smoking a cigar and trying his hand at photography, posted a picture of the himself with the couple with a caption “Congrats Mr and Mrs @bobcollymore on your wedding..What a Wedding! What a Couple! What a Day! Somebody say OH MY!! (sic)”

Bob Collymore and his wife Wambui Kamiru
Bob Collymore and his wife Wambui Kamiru

Six Things We Learnt From Bob Collymore Wedding

It came as a shocker after photos of Safaricom boss Bob Collymore’s wedding with Wambui Kamiru were shared on social media a day after the big day.

Many were unaware as no blog or media house ran the story before the wedding day. Here are things that you can learn from the millionaire’s wedding:

Bob Collymore Wedding – Simplicity is key

Everyone agreed that the ceremony was kept as simple as possible, at least judging from the photos that were shared on social media. The bride donned a white dress as opposed to those bank breaking gowns and the cake was a simple air brushed three tier cake. Impressive for a man who earns Sh10 million a month.

Bob Collymore Wedding – Loyal friends matter

The wedding had the who is who in showbiz and business circles but none uttered a word until the ceremony was done and the couple away on honeymoon. News about the wedding started spreading on Sunday after all had been done and dusted. Ordinarily some spoilers start tweeting congratulations before the day starts giving the blogs a hint.

Bob Collymore Wedding – Your life, your business

Despite being a big deal in Kenya, Mr Collymore didn’t advertise his upcoming wedding to everyone who cared to listen. He wisely picked up a few friends who would witness the day and perhaps even briefed them that it was him wedding and not the company hence no one else needed to know.

Bob Collymore Wedding – Marital bliss can come at any age

Both Mr and Mrs Collymore had been divorced previously but that did not stop them from pursuing happiness. The two have shown that all matters is that one is happy and the past should remain just that – the past.

Bob Collymore Wedding – Love can be found anywhere

That Collymore was born in Guyana, lived in the United Kingdom only to later find love in Kenya shows that indeed love knows no boundaries. All you need is to embrace love wherever you find it and be happy.

Bob Collymore Wedding -It doesn’t matter what the haters thinks

Despite all the bile about the previous marriages the couple chose to live their life. This is a lesson that it is your life and you should live it the way you wish with no apologies to anyone.

5 Things You Should Know About Bob Collymore Wife – Wambui Kamiru

Wambui Kamiru was married before

Wambui Kamiru was married to one Joseph Kinyua in 2007 and even had 3 children together, they were a happy family, until Bob Collymore came to town, many have blamed Bob Collymore for the couple’s divorce.So this is her second marriage!

How Wambui Kamiru met Bob Collymore

Wambui Kamiru met Bob Collymore in a fundraiser for survivors of the Loreto Convent Msongari school bus crash that occurred in July 2011, thereafter Wambui Kamiru started going out with Collymore while still living with her husband and Bob Collymore even used to drop her at her marital home after their dates. After a legal divorce from her husband Wambui Kamiru became ‘officially’ Bob’s girlfriend and the rest is history.

Wambui Kamiru is an artist

Ms Wambui Kamiru is an artist and founder of The Art Spac – an Independent visual art space that comprises of a commercial gallery and alternative show spaces.

Wambui Kamiru an alumnus of Oxford University

Wambui Kamiru is not your average Kirinyaga girl, she has studied in some of the best schools in the world, she attended the Loreto Msongari, University of Maryland Baltimore County for a Bachelor’s degree then did her Masters at the University of Oxford.

Wambui Kamiru has three kids already

As stated earlier Wambui Kamiru was married before but divorced from her ex-husband- Joseph Kinyua after their marriage experienced some difficulties. She has three children from her former marriage with the two of the kids being twins

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