KENYA – Kenya-listed mobile network operator and telecommunications giant, Safaricom Plc has appointed Michael Joseph as interim CEO of the company effective immediately.

Michael who previously served as the Chief Executive Officer of Safaricom was appointed to the role by the company board following the passing of Bob Collymore on 1 July.

Mr Joseph is currently the Chairman of Kenya Airways and will held the interim position until a permanent appointment is made, according to the firm.

Bob Collymore, 61, died at his Nairobi home following a battle with cancer of the blood.

“Following the passing on of the company’s chief executive officer (CEO) Mr Robert (Bob) William Collymore on 1st July, 2019, at a special board meeting of the directors that was held on the eve date, the board resolved to appoint Mr Michael Joseph, a board member of the company, as the interim chief executive officer of the company with immediate effect,” said the company’s secretary Kathryne Maundu in a statement.

“The board is confident that during this transition, Mr Joseph will provide the necessary guidance and leadership to the company and its employees.”

Mr Collymore, who took the top job with the Kenyan company in 2010, oversaw an increase of nearly 500% in its share value attributed to the popular mobile money transfer service M-Pesa and a growing customer base.

He had agreed in May to serve another year in the role after the government, which owns 35% of the company, insisted that a local be picked to succeed him, complicating the hiring process.

Joseph, 67, joined the Safaricom board on September 8, 2008 and currently works with Vodafone Group Services Limited as the Director of Mobile Money.

He is also Vodafone’s Strategic Advisor appointed to the Boards of Vodacom Group South Africa, Vodacom Mozambique, Vodacom Tanzania, and Safaricom Limited in Kenya.

He was the CEO of Safaricom Limited from July 2000 when the company was re-launched as a joint venture between Vodafone UK and Telkom Kenya until his retirement in November 2010.