Mr. Andrews, Co-Founder of the Zopa platform and long time CEO, is changing roles. He now becomes the company’s Executive Chairman, with former COO Jaidev Janardana acceding to the role of the CEO. Jaidev joined the Zopa platform in October 2014 from Capital One UK, where he served as Chief Marketing Officer. Jaidev’s tenure at Capital One saw customer acquisitions grow by 40% and lending to the company’s existing customers climb by 50%. He was instrumental in leading Capital One back to profitability and growth, and orchestrating a period of rapid expansion will be chief amongst his objectives as the new Zopa CEO.
After having passed the £1 billion mark in cumulative lending in August, Zopa has now set its sights on facilitating another £1bn of loans in 2016. Jaidev appears to be the man for the job. He has been instrumental in accelerating the growth of the platform since joining as COO, driving changes to the company’s marketing, its treatment of credit risk, its technology and customer service.
For a taste of the platform’s growth under the influence of Jaidev, recall that Zopa became the first European platform to hit £50m of monthly origination in July. The platform has also been utilising increasing amounts of institutional capital. Institutional lenders accounted for 56.3% of Zopa’s record origination volume in July. What’s more, we’ve seen increased diversification in terms of the type of borrowers lent to by the platform. High profile partnerships with the likes of Uber and Metro Bank have also materialised during the short time that Jaidev has been with the platform. Zopa made its full loan book available to AltFi Data in November 2014, and joined the Liberum AltFi Returns Index 4 months later. The platform has also hit our TV screens during Jaidev’s stint as COO, introducing the colourful “Professor Zopa” to potential customers across the country.
Commenting on his appointment, Mr. Janardana said:
“I joined Zopa because it is a true pioneer and innovator in financial services. Since its inception a decade ago, it has consistently provided products with tremendous value with an unusual dedication to transparency, simplicity and service. I feel very privileged to lead such a talented, dynamic and mission driven team and to have Giles’ experience and expertise to call upon.
I believe we have an immense opportunity to create a positive impact on consumers’ lives through offering them a radically better alternative to the incumbent financial services organisations. By aligning our interests with those of our customers, providing simple and transparent products with best in class user experience, we can ensure Zopa becomes the first choice to an ever growing number of customers.”
As Executive Chairman, Giles Andrews will retain responsibility for managing key external relationships, and will also chair and manage Zopa’s board of directors. Under Giles’ stewardship, Zopa has grown steadily and sustainably; starting out as the world’s first peer-to-peer lending platform in 2005, and now standing as a recognised brand within consumer credit. Zopa is one of the few peer-to-peer lenders to have weathered an economic downturn, and it did so with much aplomb, thanks in no small part to the relatively conservative approach that the platform has historically taken towards credit.
Mr. Andrew’s approach as CEO reflected the challenges of the day. For 5 years, between 2005 and 2010, Zopa was the UK’s sole peer-to-peer lender. The task of persuading consumers to lend and borrow through an unproven, online operation had to be tackled with a great deal of care and caution. But with the industry’s credibility now much further advanced, the time for accelerated growth, and for a more aggressive assault upon the UK consumer credit space, has come.
Mr. Andrews offered his thoughts:
"Jaidev has shown he has the right mix of skills, vision and focus on execution that we need and I am delighted to announce his appointment as CEO. Since joining, Jaidev has demonstrated his ability both to hire and motivate great people while implementing an impressive series of initiatives and partnerships resulting in Zopa growing at its fastest ever rate and cementing our position as the leading consumer P2P lending service in the UK. He is the best person to take Zopa to the next level and I am really looking forward to working with him in leading the company.”