Safaricom extends Bob Collymore's contract


Kenya's biggest telecoms operator, Safaricom, has extended the contract of its chief executive officer Bob Collymore by two years, the CEO told Reuters on Friday.

Profits have risen under Collymore, whose initial contract of three years was due to expire at the end of August.

Pre-tax profit increased from 20.97 billion shillings ($240.62 million) in the year ended March 2010 before he took over to 25.5 billion shillings in the last financial year, despite a price war that lasted between August 2010 to September 2011.

"The board recognised that this is still work in progress and we still have much that can be done. We are giving ourselves more time to work out our succession plan," Collymore said.

Contracts for the entire executive team, including the chief technology officer and the chief financial officer will be expiring over the next 18-24 months, he said.

"We will be in the process of identifying people who will be taking over internally," he added.

Collymore, who joined the firm that is 40% owned by Britain's Vodafone from South Africa's Vodacom, steered Safaricom through a bruising price war initiated by the Kenyan unit of Bharti Airtel in August 2010.

Safaricom's 39.6% margin on earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for its last financial year, is near the top of the range for telecoms globally.

Its shares have surged 46% this year to 7.30 shillings each, outpacing the benchmark NSE-20 share index year to date gains of 16%.