• Sealing a business deal by a handshake is one of the oldest business traditions but Kenya’s most profitable company CEO, Bob Collymore wont be shaking hands any time soon.
  • Carrying babies and posing with them for photos may be one of the most popular corporate public relations stunts which never fail but Mr Collymore will also skip that.
  • Mr. Bob Collymore recently returned back to work after a nine month medical leave.

Sealing a business deal by a handshake is one of the oldest business traditions which serve to show both parties commitment and goodwill to ensure the deal sees the light of the day.

That has been the norm and will certainly continue to be for the next foreseeable future, therefore, it is strange when a Chief Executive of one of the largest telecommunication firms in Africa announces that he won’t be shaking hands anytime time soon, at least for the next five years.

Safaricom, Kenya’s most profitable company CEO, Bob Collymore who recently returned back to work after a nine-month medical leave undergoing cancer treatment at a London hospital while he is psyched to be back and ready to get the ball rolling isn’t looking forward to handshakes and social functions for that matter.

“I think I will try and use this handshake excuse for the next five years or so when it comes to politicians, I have said to politicians I can’t shake your hands,” Mr Collymore said during a media briefing meeting on Friday morning at Villa Rosa Kempinski.

Should you want to throw a big party with more than 100  guests and wish to have the pleasure of hosting the 60-year-old CEO who was diagnosed with Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), a rare form of cancer, don’t bother he won’t show up.

Carrying babies and posing with them for photos may be one of the most popular corporate public relations stunts which never fail but Mr Collymore will also skip that.

“Germs and bacteria get transferred by hands and this is why we wash our hands before we eat after we come from the toilet,” said Collymore.

Also read: Safaricom's CEO, Bob Collymore, tells us what he thinks about the historic handshake between Kenyatta and Raila

It’s not that Mr Collymore is a snob, far from it, or that after being away for nine months he is itching and can’t get around the thought of wasting time in social activities handing out high fives’ and attending parties, none of that.

He is simply following doctors’ advice to stay in isolation and reduce his social activities as a result of his low immunity.

"I need to stay away from social gatherings, parties, buffets because my immunity is at zero so I am susceptible. All the immunity I built in my 60 years is gone. I also need to stay away from young children. My doctor also told me that I cannot go to Mombasa,” he said.

While in London undergoing treatment, he spent most of his time in isolation inside a negative pressure room staring at white hospital ceilings, thinking a lot and reading.

"I was stuck in the room for seven weeks. During this time I was thinking a lot and reading. I was also working with my team through FaceTime," he said.

Doctors didn’t want to take any chances and his wife Wambui Kamiru only visited two times a day and had to don protective masks and gears.

However no doctor or medical treatment can ever break human’s bond, humans crave for human touch if only to feel alive again and Bob Collymore is no exception.

Despite the doctor’s advice Mr Collymore has shaken hands not once, twice or even trice, uncountable times proofing just how human the CEO who earns Sh196.5 million ($1.96m) annually, making him the third highest-paid corporate executive in Kenya, his.

“I do shake hands but I have in my bag always some sanitizer to try and stop the transfer of some bacteria, if for instance shake twenty people’s hands you can guarantee one gonna have something which you won’t even know or feel it but I will,”

Business Insider SSA wish Mr Collymore a quick recovery and hope to see him soon for a sit-down interview, of course, we won’t be shaking hands and high fiving each other, would we?