Changes at the Top for Wonga South Africa

A new CEO with an impressive track record in financial services has been appointed to lead the South African arm of the short-term lender, Wonga.

Brett van Aswegen is set to continue the rich South African heritage at having been appointed as the new CEO of the South African arm of the business. Van Aswegen’s appointment follows the departure of the company’s South African co-founders, Errol Damelin and Jonty Hurwitz, as well as the resignation of former Wonga South Africa CEO, Kevin Hurwitz, who left the short-term lender in October last year.

Changes at the Top for Wonga South Africa 1024x639 - Changes at the Top for Wonga South Africa
Image by Manie Van der Hoven from Pixabay

The exodus of Wonga’s top brass follows a year when the company came under fire from regulators in South Africa and the UK. This culminated with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the industry regulator in the UK, ordering Wonga to write off £220million from its debtors book, as loans to some 375,000 borrowers were agreed without obtaining proof of consumers’ income and living expenses.

Since then, Wonga has undergone a mass cleanup, which has completely reshaped the business’s approach to lending. Now, loans are only agreed after extensive checks have taken place into the borrower’s ability to repay the loan. Wonga also follows the Good Practice Customer Charter.

A prized asset for new Wonga

Van Aswegen joins online loans giant Wonga South Africa after a career that has seen him lead more than 500 people and build the first retail credit card operation in Kenya. He began his career in 1994, working for the Edcon Group’s credit division. He then joined the retail banking sector with Standard Bank, before joining the Lewis Group in 1999. He spent the next 12 years at the well known furniture retailer and was listed on the company’s board as a credit risk director in 2006.

During his time at Lewis, Van Aswegen was responsible for implementing a number of risk models, credit systems and direct marketing strategies which made Lewis the first furniture store to offer revolving credit facilities to customers. During this time, he also served on the management committee of the Credit Providers Association for ten years, taking the position of chairperson for five. He also played an important part in guiding the embryonic credit industry in South Africa through the transformation that resulted in the National Credit Act.

This background in customer credit means that van Aswegen’s appointment to the position of CEO of Wonga South Africa was a natural progression. Speaking on 20 April this year at the official start of his tenure, Mr van Aswegen said: “I’m excited to step into this role and look forward to focusing my time on building high-energy teams and combining technology with financial services to deliver a superior experience four our customers.”

Mark Ruddock, Managing Director International for the Wonga Group, believes he has found the perfect man for the job: “After an extensive search, we’re pleased to secure someone of van Aswegen’s strong calibre to lead the South African arm of the business. He is a capable leader and has an impressive track record in financial services.”