Bob Collymore on sick leave, CFO and Director of Strategy left in charge at Safaricom

The Safaricom board has announced that the telco’s CEO Bob Collymore “has started medical leave to receive specialised treatment for a number of months”. In his absence, Sateesh Kamath, the current Chief Financial Officer (CFO) who also doubles up as Collymore’s alternate on the board will take the primary role while being supported by Joseph Ogutu, the current Director in charge of Strategy and Innovation.

Sateesh replaced John Tombleson as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) on August 1, 2016 from Vodacom Tanzania where he held a similar role. He joined Vodafone Group’s India affiliate in 2004 and has held senior roles in other Vodafone operations in London, Australia, New Zealand, Turkey and Fiji.

(TOP: Bob Collymore, CEO, Safaricom, who’s gone on an indefinite sick 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,” noted the Safaricom board in a statement.

According to a statement, Ogutu will be responsible for Safaricom’s day to-day operations until Collymore’s return from medical leave. He joined Safaricom as Chief Corporate Affairs Officer in May 2005 from Telkom Kenya where he was the Chief Strategy and Regulatory Officer  and Principal Assistant to the then MD Augustine Cheserem. He then served as Chief Human Resource Officer from 2008 before taking on the role of Director Resources in March 2011. In October 2012, he was appointed as the Director, Strategy & Innovation, a role which sees him liaise with the CEO in formulating strategies for the telco. Apart from this, he’s also the Chairman of Safaricom Foundation and sits in the board of TEAMS cable.

A telcom industry veteran, Ogutu was also part of the team which drafted the Postal and Telecommunication Policy Paper that led to the restructuring of the defunct Kenya Posts and Telecommunications Corporation and subsequent establishment of CCK, Telkom Kenya and Postal Corporation of Kenya. He was also involved in the establishment of the institutional framework for the Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System (Eassy).

“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,” added the statement singed by Safaricom board chair Nicholas Ng’ang’a.

Collymore replaced the telco’s founding CEO Michael Joseph in August 2010. In March 2015, his contract was extended by a further two years, with the contract extension being announced during the firm’s financial results, 5 months before it expired in August of the same year. Prior to this, Collymore had seen his contract extended for two more years in 2013.

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