In conversation with Bob Collymore, CEO of Safaricom
By Nicholas Norbrook
“I highly recommend this lifestyle,” says Bob Collymore, sitting on the veranda of his imposing house in the affluent Nairobi suburbs. “This morning I woke up and had the 8:15am call. Then I caught up with some emails, then I have you and another media engagement after […] I don’t actually need to go to the office.”
With the gentle chirrup of birdsong and the jazz radio playing in the large sitting room behind, it is hard to disagree, though the less well-organised might see their productivity suffer. “And it occurred to me,” continues Collymore, “that we all get into this funnel, to commute and get into the office by 8-9am. Whereas, I could easily do the interviews here, go into the office by midday and miss the traffic.”
Nairobi is blessed with an abundance of cars, which can render the smallest commute unbearable. So it is no surprise to hear an executive plan around it. But Collymore is not being boastful about his terrific life; he has a different problem to steer around. Treatment for acute myeloid leukaemia has stripped his immune system of its former strength. “I’m starting over from scratch,” he says. Until it returns, he is forced to limit his interaction with people.
Photo courtesy of Denis Mukundi/World Bank.