Bob Collymore is the CEO of Safaricom. He is passionate about the company he runs, his friends, flying, music and the arts. He was born in South America, grew up in Europe and worked in Asia and Africa. He has spent an eternity working in the telecommunications industry but has had a short sojourn as a portrait artist.

Robert William Collymore


When he’s not running Kenya’s largest mobile network, he splits his time between commitments to UN activities on sustainability, women and children’s health and ethical business practice and a few local charitable projects. He wishes he had more time to fly and to paint and dreams of one day becoming a bush pilot

We had a few questions for him and this is what he had to say:

1. What was your first phone?

My first mobile phone was a Nokia. It was an analogue phone (ask your parents what they were!) I was working for a UK telecom company and I was charged with introducing it into the consumer market.

2. What do you prefer? Facebook or Twitter? Why?

I prefer Twitter although I use both. In fact I have two Facebook accounts. I like the way that Twitter forces you to be concise in your messaging. 140 characters and no more. Twitter also somehow seems more democratic.

3. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Running a mobile company in some interesting part of the world. Would be nice if it was Kenya.

4. Any question for us? We’ll publish our answer as well

What would you do if you were Safaricom CEO for a day?
  • Just one day? We would call the head of cash management, tell him to fill a room with cash and swim in it like Scrooge McDuck. After treating the paper cuts, we would make a public committment to improve the networks Quality of Service.

5. What would you do if you were president for a day?

Extend the Presidential terms of office

6. What’s your favourite book & movie?

Favourite book is the Bhagavad Gita and favorite movie is Invictus.

7. Who/What inspired you to do what you do now?

Michael Joseph.

8. If you were to change jobs, what profession would you get into? Why?

An artist or a musician. In both professions you can move people without touching them.

9. If you had a superpower, what would it be?

X-ray vision. (Make of that what you will!)

10. If you were deserted on an abandoned island what 5 things would you want to have?

5 boats.

11. If you were a car, what car would you like to be? Why?



A Landrover. You can throw it about as much as you like and it will still come out working. It’s also easy to fix when it goes wrong!

12. If you could be in any band in the world, which one would you like to be in? Why?

The Rolling Stones. It’s the only band where I would be the youngest member.
Rolling Stones

Rolling Stones

13. Share something interesting about yourself with our readers.
Can’t think of anything that they don’t already know.