• The clean shaven executive went on leave last year on October at a time when the firm
  • While his ailment still remains a tightly sealed secret and has been fresh fodder for numerous speculations, Mr. Collymore didn’t however, mind sharing the health facility he had been admitted to for nine months.

Early on Monday morning, Bob Collymore announced his return to the helm of Safaricom after nine months away seeking medical treatment.

“I'm back. Thanks to everyone who supported me over the past 9 months especially the clinical team at @uclh, my superb @SafaricomPLC team and of course my wife @WambuiKamiru,” he said in a tweet.

The clean shaven executive went on leave last year on October at a time when the firm was battling accusation from the Kenya's opposition that it played a hand in the bungling of the August 8th general elections which was later nullified by the Supreme Court, leaving the firm’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Executive Board Member, Sateesh Kamath in acting capacity.

Immediately the firm announced his momentary exit which caught many by surprise, hundreds of Kenyans ranging from top CEOs, media personalities to ordinary Mama Mbogas (Vegetable vendors) went online majority of them using the company’s data to wish him a quick recovery.

Some sections of Kenyans however, also used the opportunity to speculate about his health with others going as far as saying he had been sacked, never mind Mr. Collymore had just signed a new two-year contract in May 2017, forcing the firm to come out and dispel the rumors.

“On behalf of the board, management and the entire Safaricom community, I wish Bob quick recovery and look forward to him resuming his duties as soon as doctors allow him to do so,” the telecom’s Chairman, Nicholas Ng’ang’a,stated in a recent statement.

Despite his illness, Mr Collymore was active on Twitter and occasionally posted tweets about random things such as books he was reading to sharing his music playlist. He even took to Twitter to celebrate his son who graduated with a first class honours degree in Music.

Being the largest telecommunication firm in Kenya with 22.7 million M-Pesa customers according to the Communication Authority’s quarter one report, the firm continuously was keen to calm down the market and throughout his leave assured the public of his well-being.

Just days to the firm’s releasing its full year results Mr. Collymore announced his return in what experts interpreted as a move by the Nairobi Securities Exchange listed firm to calm down investors and ensured its continued profitability.

“To achieve these results, we sharpened our focus on putting our customers first, delivering relevant products and services, and organizational effectiveness; a strategy that was exceptionally well executed considering the challenging business climate last year,” he said. via a video link during the company’s Full Year investor briefing.

The company announced its net profit for the year ended March 2018 grew to Sh55.3 billion, compared to Sh48.4 billion the year before on the back of M-Pesa and data revenues.

It was in March 2018 however, when Mr. Collymore who doesn’t believe education is everything showed the biggest signs of recovery and hinted he was itching to get back to work.

“I have just entered the final phase of treatment and expect to be back in Nairobi as soon as doctors feel that my immune system is sufficiently robust to withstand the infection risks that are usually associated with airline travel,” he said via a video message to Safaricom investors where he announced he was in the final phase of treatment.

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While his ailment still remains a tightly sealed secret and has been fresh fodder for numerous speculations, Mr. Collymore didn’t however, mind sharing the health facility that had taken him in and nursed him back to good health.

The hospital in question which clearly made a good impression to the 60-year-old CEO is none other than University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH), one of the largest National Health Service trusts in the United Kingdom, providing acute and specialist services in five hospitals.

The five hospitals are namely; University College Hospital, the Eastman Dental Hospital (EDH), the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (NHNN), the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine (RLHIM) and  Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital (RNTNEH).

The hospital’s trust was founded in 1948 and has been in operations for 70 years now.

According to the Trust’s annual reports and accounts for year 2015-16, the trust had an annual turnover of around £940 million and employs approximately 8,180 staff. Each year its hospitals treat over 500,000 outpatients appointments and admit over 100,000 patients.

The hospital’s mission is to deliver top-quality patient care, excellent education and world-class research.

Sir Robert Naylor is the Chief Executive of University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.