Safaricom share gains, shaking off Collymore sick leave

Tuesday October 31 2017

Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

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The stock market Tuesday shrugged off news of Safaricom chief executive Bob Collymore medical leave with the counter slightly edging up.

The benchmark NSE-20 share index gained 1.49 per cent to close at 3729.62 points largely uplifted by Safaricom.

The index has in recent days recovered after weeks of falling as investors hedged against political risk.

Safaricom shares that accounted for nearly a fifth or 19 per cent of the total trading Tuesday closed at Sh25.50 a rise of 0.99 per cent from Sh25.25 at close of trading Monday.

The telecoms firm, which is Kenya’s biggest by market value, on Monday, disclosed Mr Collymore, 59, a Guyana-born British citizen had taken medical leave to receive specialised treatment for a “number of months”.

Company chairman Nicholas Ng’ang’a made the announcement in a circular to employees, but did not disclose the nature of Mr Collymore’s sickness.

Weighing in on the development, experts said the uncertainty associated with the sudden announcement of medical leave of a senior executive hits some firms harder than others, and the level of understanding differs widely.

Globally, Google and Apple are two of the biggest tech companies to experience the effects of CEO illness.

When Apple founder Steve Jobs announced that he had pancreatic cancer in January 2011, Apple investors panicked. His insistence that the cancer had been removed failed to calm their nerves.

Apple shares continued to tumble and as two more bouts of medical leave were announced, investors feared that without his involvement, the company’s creative edge would be lost.