Alternative Finances

Prosper CEO Steps Down

The CEO of Prosper Marketplace — Aaron Vermut — will be saying good-bye to the firm, to be replaced by David Kimball, Prosper’s finance chief. Kimball will begin manning the helm as of December; he has been with the firm for a little over six months after nine years at financial-services provider USAA.

Prosper, like many of its peers in marketplace lending, has had a tough year in 2016 — with investors falling out of love with loans provided online as quickly as they fell in love with them. Prosper — like many with a similar marketplace model — does not function as a lender so much as a conduit for borrower debt to be purchased by money managers and other investors.

The firm’s revenue is derived from the fees it charges to use its platform — meaning revenue began to significantly suffer as fewer investors were drawn to the site to purchase debt. Over the first half of 2016, Prosper recorded a net loss of $53.1 million, or nearly four times the $13.5 million loss it recorded in the first half of 2015.

That has taken a bite out of Prosper — the firm has laid off 28 percent of its workforce and Vermut agreed to forgo his salary.

The firm has been actively seeking investor commitment to a sizable loan-buying agreement — but no final agreement has been made.

Vermut has reportedly been looking to leave the company since earlier this year to spend more time with his family. He will remain a director of the company while his father, Stephan Vermut, will step down as executive chairman of Prosper.

Aaron Vermut joined Prosper as president in April 2013 and became chief executive in March 2014.

 

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