The chief executive who built up one of the world’s leading mobile money services has died

Bob Collymore, the Guyanese-born British businessman who oversaw the expansion of Kenyan telecoms firm Safaricom into East Africa’s biggest mobile network operator, has died.

Safaricom confirmed that the 61-year-old had passed away from cancer while at home this morning. Collymore had been receiving treatment for acute myeloid leukemia in the UK and in Kenya for almost two years.

Collymore took over as CEO of Safaricom after nine years in Africa and Asia with British telecom firm Vodafone, which partly owns Safaricom together with the Kenyan government and South African mobile operator Vodacom. He helped expand the company’s focus to include digital services, most notably developing the popular mobile money transfer service M-Pesa, and overseeing support of the company’s rapidly growing customer base. During his tenure, Safaricom grew into one of the largest and most profitable companies in East Africa.

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