Finally a voice for managers at Safaricom house

Posted on January 7, 2011


Line managers at Safaricom House finally have a voice of their own. But this is subject to keeping it in line with the company’s objectives and vision.

New head honcho Bob Collymore has given them a free hand to talk on behalf of the company, a thing that was unheard of during the tenure of decorated chief executive Michael Joseph.

In the ten years that MJ as he was fondly referred to was in command, all communications originated from him and had his blessings. Constantly in touch with the office even on trips abroad, all sentiments from the firm were attributed to ‘Chief executive office Mr Michael Joseph’

MJ: During his stint at Safaricom all communications originated from him

The only other person that did not abide by the ‘only me’ policy was perhaps former finance director Les Baile. Les is today the chief investor relations’ officer and chairman of Safaricom Foundation, an institution that MJ holds dear to his heart.

But with Bob, a confessed hands free manager things seems to have changed drastically. The signs that this would be different going forward began with Kictanet- an online ICT mailing list. Seemingly with express authority of Bob, line managers have taken up to respond to issues raised by members on the platform against Safaricom.

In his days MJ was the only member of the forum from the firm and contributed and responded to issues raised alone. An example of his response when put to task on the list for ‘testing 4G network he said

‘At extreme risk of responding via this list, I ask why should we not be testing new technology which might benefit both the Kenyan public and the industry? It did not say we are launching it commercially but merely hoping to do a technical trial. Certainly 3G is more than producing the results – that is why all of a sudden the other operators want to climb on board when 2 years ago they said it was not commercially viable.



Safaricom Limited

In Contrast, Bob response to an issue raised by one of the member went thus;

Robert, Thanks for bringing these two issues to my attention they are both very good points for which I’ll ask the team to find solutions. Unfortunately, we’re unlikely to find such as solution in time to save your weekend but I’ll commit to saving future weekends. Regards Bob

Among the new faces on the mailing list from the firm include Clare Ruto (Chief Corporate Affairs Officer) Betty Mwangi (Chief officer – New Products) among others have taken the cue and are now regular participants on the list.

Immediately after joining the firm, Bob had promised among other things a different management style from that of MJ. Clearly he is not micromanaging along Waiyaki Way as he had mentioned to the press or may be its just too early and he is getting his footing.

Bob Collymore enjoys a dance with the South Africa-based Soweto String Quartet

Even so, communication is an integral part of building a strong brand and Safaricom has certainly achieved this over the years. In the last two years, the firm has been working tirelessly to bolster its communication team.

With an internal public relations department in the hands of experienced business journalists in town, who are fast becoming a darling to the media having cut on the bureaucracy of dealing with agency.

It also has vibrant social media presence on twitter and Facebook to respond to subscriber issues by the minute.

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