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Monday, October 25, 2010


Three quick things to note: Bob Collymore will not micromanage Safaricom - His own words. Two - People will be fired at Safaricom -too many highly-paid redundant chaps who add little value it seems. Three - Look for Bob Collymore at a social networking site near you. He is going to be tweeting, facebooking and all that every Friday!

There is a new era dawning at the green house on the hill. The indefatigable Michael Joseph, ubiquitous face of the money-minting machine these last 10 years, does his last tour of duty this week. Come Monday morning 1 November 2010, Safaricom will officially have a new CEO, Bob Collymore.

Joseph who jokes that he was thrown into the then wasteland that was the Kenyan mobile market because some guys didn't like him too much at Vodafone, now retires as a dyed-in-the-wool Kenyan who is in no hurry to go anywhere.

Out with him however, is his iron-fist control of Kenya's most profitable company. Under Joseph's reign, no one was allowed to purport to speak for Safaricom except the CEO. Those who tried like Fred Mburu found themselves on the tarmac faster than you could say MJ. Only Les Baillie, former CFO and now investor relations head seemed immune from such restrictions and could speak at will.

With Collymore, such shackles are set to be taken off. The incoming CEO describes himself as a collaborative person who prefers to get people involved and come to a consensus rather than issue top-down directives. Joseph on the other hand has said he is not democratic. He demands, it is done.

Collymore has also been horrified at the number of titles that report to him. This is set to be changed. He wants to have fewer managers but with defined roles and the greenlight to make decisions. While, some of these managers will be glad to have latitude, some of them may face the axe or be redeployed altogether to have fewer distinct chains of command.

As for issues raised by the press, business partners, customers and so on, Collymore who has a passion for social media will reportedly be using a lot of tweeter, Facebook and the like to communicate both internally to staff and externally to stakeholders. Externally, Collymore will schedule to communicate every Friday via these social engines.

Collymore will also have his first investor briefing on November 8 when the company reports its half-year profits.

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