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Brokerage CEO steps down following earnings downgrade

by Reporter4 minute read
Exit, immediate resignation

iSelect has announced the immediate resignation of CEO Scott Wilson as its share price plummets by more than 55 per cent.

Non-executive director Brodie Arnhold will take on the role of interim CEO as iSelect commences its search for a longer-term replacement.

The online comparison site and mortgage brokerage slashed its 2018 underlying earning expectation by 58 per cent to 72 per cent, from between $26 million and $29 million to between $8 million and $12 million.

The updated earnings guidance, submitted on Monday, saw iSelect’s per-share price drop by 55.5 per cent from $1.00 at the close of Friday (20 April) to $0.445 at the close of Monday (23 April).

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iSelect admitted in a disclosure to the Australian Securities Exchange that it has been trading below expectations over the last five weeks, averaging at $1.021 per share from March 19 to April 20.

It attributed its poor financial performance in recent weeks to market volatility, fewer leads from search engine marketing and higher customer acquisition costs, which particularly impacted its Health and Energy & Telco verticals, while Life & General Insurance has been performing as expected.

CMO Warren Hebard is amid reviewing iSelect’s marketing strategy and mix modelling tools to address lead generation underperformance, while COO Henriette Rothschild is leading efforts to improve business unit performance. Business operations group executive and interim CFO Vicki Pafumi is also heading up efforts to drive operational performance improvement.

Mr Wilson’s departure follows the appointment of Nadine Lennie as iSelect’s new chief financial officer, after an “extensive search process” that began last November.

Ms Lennie, who has held numerous public company CFO roles throughout her 20-year financial career, is scheduled to take over from iSelect’s interim CFO on 2 July 2018.

iSelect late last year announced becoming a majority shareholder in Kuala Lumpur–based fintech iMoney, increasing its stake from 23.8 per cent to 51. 5 per cent by purchasing US$4.15 million in shares in October.

At the time, iSelect said that it would leverage the high level of visitation to the iMoney site in a bid to dramatically improve the monetisation rate of its unique visitors. 

[Related: CEO of AMP resigns with immediate effect]

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