Payday Lender Wonga's Profits Bomb By 53%
Wonga's heavyweight appointment signals a new direction for the payday lender Getty

Controversial payday lender Wonga has announced the appointment of Andy Haste as chairman for the company.

The former RSA Insurance Group chief executive moves to Britain's biggest payday lender following the resignation of the former chairman and co-founder Errol Damelin, who stepped down from his post in June.

"After a thorough search, he was the outstanding choice and his appointment marks a significant step in the changes we are making to the Group," said Laurel Bowden, Wonga board member and partner at Greylock.

"We share a commitment to be the most responsible provider of short-term credit. Andy has an exceptional track record and brings with him a wealth of relevant experience."

One of Haste's first responsibilities will be to clean up Wonga's public image, including putting its puppet grandparents into advertising retirement.

Haste told the BBC that he didn't want the brand to be associated with anything that lures children.

He went on to say that he plans on changing the direction of the lender.

"Our goal is to deliver the original vision for Wonga ‒ to provide short-term lending to the right customers in a responsible and transparent way," he said in an interview with the BBC.

"We will become a more customer-focused, and inevitably in the near term, a smaller and less profitable business.

"However, we are determined to make the necessary changes and serve our customers in the right way, to repair our reputation and become a business with a long-term future and an accepted place in the financial services industry."

Short-term loan companies have come under increasing scrutiny in recent times because of their high interest rates, but the industry is heading towards a period of change that will see strict regulations placed on the market.