Damelin will be replaced in the CEO role by chief operating officer and former Niall Wass, who has been leading Wonga’s recent “12 portraits” short films marketing drive, a charm offensive designed to make people reconsider the types of people that use its service.
Wass says in a statement about the management changes that Wonga has “only scratched the surface” of what it wants to achieve in its “revolutionary approach to global financial services”.
He joined Wonga from Betfair where he was chief commercial officer, responsible for all sales, marketing and business development both in the UK and internationally. Prior to taking on that role in 2011, Wass was Betfair’s chief marketing and development officer.
Damelin has served as Wonga’s CEO since founding the company in 2006.
He says: “These changes will free up my time to focus on where Wonga should be heading in the next decade, as we continue to develop as an international digital finance business.”
Wonga, along with the wider payday loan industry, has come under heavy criticism from some consumer groups and politicians over the way it treats customers. The mounting concerns led to the recently formed Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) promising to toughen regulation of the burgeoning sector when it assumes responsibility for it next year.
Wonga reported a 36 per cent jump in profit to £62m in 2012, driven by increased demand for loans form “digitally savvy” consumers.