He wanted to be a painter – 11 Facts about the late Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore

Kenyans on Monday morning woke up to the sad news that Bob Collymore, the CEO of Kenya’s biggest telco company Safaricom, had died. The earth-shattering news caught many by surprise as it was thought that the CEO was on the road to recovery after his year long battle with cancer.


Many will want to know the facts behind the charismatic leader. They are below;

1. The late Bob was born in 1958 and was a Guyanese-born British man.

2. Bob Collymore’s official name was Robert William Collymore and he was raised by his grandmother.

Bob-Collymore-with his wife Wambui
Bob-Collymore-with his wife Wambui on their wedding day

3. His early school years were in Guyana before he emigrated to the United Kingdom where he lived with his mother.

Here are some of the lessons every Kenyan should learn from Bob Collymore

4. He started earning money when he was 12-years-old by selling art pieces from plasticine molds.

5. His first real job was as an office messenger when he was 16-years-old.

6. He did not attend University, something that would impact his hiring practices later on in life. Bob hired people based on their skills and competence rather than their University education.

7. Early on he wanted to become a painter, even selling paintings. His mother was unhappy with that choice of career, even threatening to evict him.  She then got him an interview at the telco she was working at. This was the foundation stone that would later guide him in building his impressive legacy.

Bob-Collymore smiling

8. The Safaricom boss would wake up at 5.15am every day.

9. He preferred Chinese and Indian food while disliking Kenyan food.

10. Two of his hobbies were flying helicopters and cycling.

11. He had been married three times.

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