Wonga chief executive Tim Weller has resigned ñ Uphill battle for ailing payday lender continues


November 2014

Wonga chief executive Tim Weller has resigned ñ Uphill battle for ailing payday lender continues

Wongaís woes continue to pile up as it transpires that Tim Weller, interim chief executive, has resigned his position only 6 months after his promotion from finance director of the much maligned payday lender.

Hopes were high that Weller could oversee Wongaís brand rebuilding amid tighter regulations resulting from a state crack down on the payday lending sector. However, with his departure last month, speculation over the viability of Wongaís long-term future has intensified.

Having taken over from Niall Wass, former Betfair executive, in May this year, it is now apparent that Weller was not up to the increasingly futile mission faced by Wonga to salvage its tattered reputation in the face of the Financial Conduct Authorityís (FCAís) assertion that there exists "no place in an FCA-regulated consumer credit market for payday lenders that only care about making a fast buck".

City heavyweight, Andy Haste, who assumed chairman duties in July pledging that heíll bring Wonga out of the murky realms from which they are widely considered to conduct business, will fulfil Wellerís duties until the search for a permanent senior executive is completed.

Wellerís leaving brings to an end the regime of the established order behind the formation of Wonga, and is believed to have come about by mutual consent, with the company seeking a new, unsullied path away from the ailments associated with Wongaís past.

Mr Haste is the man charged with supervising this transition for now, and his plight cannot be undermined especially in light of a string of recent scandals.

Revelations of 5800% interest rates being imposed on certain borrowers, instances of suicides & grave depression amongst Wongaís clientele, the fake letter scandal and criticism from the Archbishop of Canterbury himself has served to comprehensively blacken Wongaís name.

However, Haste has spoken with purpose about the future of the payday giants, releasing a statement reading: ìAt a critical time for Wonga, when we will complete our forbearance programme, prepare to apply for FCA authorisation and introduce a cap-compliant product, Iím taking an even more active role in leading the business.

ìTim Weller therefore stepped down as interim CEO in October. This was a mutual decision, following a comprehensive handover, and will ensure clear leadership in the weeks and months ahead. I want to thank Tim for his three years in the business as chief financial officer.î

Indeed FCA chief executive, Martin Wheatley, has alluded to further reforms from January 2015 which, when combined with the already stringent newly enforced rules on payday lending, could eradicate payday lenders from the high street all together.

Already, Wheatley has announced that only the top 3 payday lenders, Wonga, QuickQuid and Dollar Financial are in any sort of position to combat the FCAís regulations.

In September, Wonga announced 2013ís profits were down 53% to 39.7m from £84.5m in 2014, as Wonga suffered system failures and a troubled foray into the overseas market along with its hotly-debated problems in the UK.

Wonga was also made to forego £220m of customerís debt after conceding these borrowers ought never to have been lent to in the first place.