Payday lender Wonga South Africa hires new CEO

Web-based payday loan provider Wonga South Africa base has hired former Lewis Group credit risk director, Brett van Aswegen as their new company CEO. The decision to hire a new CEO came in the wake of Kevin Hurwitz’s resignation following the quieter departures of Errol Damelin and Jonty Hurwitz. Aswegen steps into the fold at a crucial period for the business, after it came under fire from regulators in South Africa, Britain and other counties. As Wonga had to write off a lot of their customer’s debts, changes in management are to be expected and Brett will certainly be hoping he can make a real difference.

There is no doubt that he’ll have plenty to do in his initial months or even years at the company, as Wonga is a massive business and one of the best-know payday lenders on the planet, and the number #1 lender in many countries. Mark Ruddock, International MD for Wonga said the following on van Aswegen’s appointment, “After an extensive search, we’re pleased to secure someone of Van Aswegen’s strong calibre to lead our South African arm of the business”.


Brett began the job at approximately May time in 2015. A skim read of his LinkedIn page can give us some information on his character, experience and employment history. He has been in the professional world for two decades, starting his business career in the credit division of Edcon Group in 1994. He then joined their retail banking team, and five years later moved companies and was hired by furniture retailers Lewis Group where he remained for over 12 years. He joined the company’s board in 2006, after transforming their credit operations by implementing credit systems, risk models, and direct marketing strategies. “During his tenure at the company he implemented credit systems, risk models and direct marketing strategies to make Lewis the first furniture retailer in South Africa to offer customer-level revolving credit facilities,” Wonga said of his abilities and reasons for hiring him.

As well what’s been previously stated, van Aswegen worked as a managing director at AFB, a consumer finance firm at which he lead his own team of 500 people who brought the first credit card retail operation to Kenya. He was also an operations director at HomeChoice for three months.


Van Aswegan also stood as chairperson of the Credit Providers Association at the time when the National Credit Act was introduced to South Africa and everything seems very up-in-the-air. However, he played a crucial part in the process and “helped guide the credit industry through the transformation required with the introduction of the Act”.

He could gain much praise if thing go well for him at his new job, but that’s far from a certainty with the payday loan market under intense scrutiny. However, if he keeps up his track record of impressive reform he may well turn Wonga into a highly regarded business within the next few years. For some tips on doing business properly in South Africa, check out this piece of writing.