Prosper appoints new CEO, Vermut to step down

By Ryan Weeks on Tuesday 15 November 2016

Alternative Lending

Marketplace lender Prosper reshuffles management, elevates CFO to top spot.

Prosper Marketplace, one of the largest marketplace lenders in the world, has appointed current chief financial officer David Kimball (pictured right) as its new CEO. Outgoing boss Aaron Vermut is stepping down after a tumultuous 2016 that saw Prosper forced to cut jobs amidst waning investor demand and diminished origination volumes.

Vermut, who has been CEO at the company since March 2014, will retain his seat on the company’s board of directors. Vermut is a part of the three man team which has effectively turned Prosper around over the past few years. The trio also features current President Ron Suber and executive chairman Steven Vermut (Aaron’s father). Under their stewardship, the company rose to become a serious competitor to industry frontrunner Lending Club.

But 2016 proved a significant stumbling block. In what was perhaps the earliest warning sign of waning investor demand, a Prosper loans backed bond offering was put on review for downgrading by Moody’s earlier this year, with the ratings agency citing higher-than-expected charge offs (the rating was ultimately left unchanged). Confidence in the asset class then fell off a cliff when former Lending Club CEO Renaud Laplanche was ousted in May, prompting a wave of jobs cuts across the sector. Prosper itself was forced to lay off 171 people, and Vermut said that he would forego his salary for 2016.

“Since joining Prosper Marketplace, David has shown that he is a strong leader with a vision for how to take this company into the future,” said Vermut. “I’m incredibly proud of the company we’ve built, and feel this is the right time for me to step away from day-to-day operations and transition the leadership of this company to David. As a board member, I will continue to work with him and the entire executive team on Prosper’s growth and success moving forward.”

Kimball joined Prosper in March 2016 as chief financial officer, having previously served nine years at USAA, where he oversaw a variety of finance functions. Prior to USAA, Kimball spent ten years at Ford Motor Company and Ford Motor Credit Company in both the US and UK. His appointment is effective 1 December 2016.

“I came to Prosper because I believe in its mission to facilitate the financial well-being of its customers, and that it can do so even more nimbly than traditional financial services companies,” said Kimball. “It is a mission predicated on strong risk management, underwriting excellence, and a powerful digital interface. I am even more convinced now that online marketplaces for credit can create lower average borrowing rates for consumers and attractive returns for investors. Going forward, we will build on our existing strengths and find creative ways to partner and expand. I have been impressed with the dedication and professionalism of my Prosper coworkers and I look forward to continuing the momentum established by Aaron and the team.”

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