Financial News

  • 9 December 2013, 11:57

Corbett To Log Out Of Moneysupermarket Chair

Gerald Corbett is to step down as chairman of Moneysupermarket, the online price comparison business, seven years after steering it through its stock market debut.

Sky News understands that Mr Corbett, the former head of Railtrack, will relinquish the reins at Moneysupermarket next year.

Russell Reynolds, a headhunting firm, has been appointed to oversee the search for Mr Corbett's successor. It will be led by Moneysupermarket's senior independent director Michael Wemms, a former Tesco executive.

Mr Corbett's exit will come at a sensitive time for the price comparison sector, which is braced for a wide-ranging review by the City watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Announcing the inquiry, Clive Adamson, the FCA's director of supervision, said last week: "We've all used a price comparison website so we know how simple they make buying motor, travel or home insurance.

"We don't want to lose that convenience, but we do need to ask the question, 'does cheapest equal best?'

"We want to get to a place where consumers that use these sites buy with the confidence knowing that they have all the relevant facts."

The review comes in the wake of an explosion in the growth of sites such as GoCompare, Comparethemarket and Moneysupermarket, with millions of consumers now turning to them before buying financial and other products.

Moneysupermarket, which was founded by Simon Nixon in 1993, is one of the few major sites not to have direct ties to a major insurance company, a relationship that is partly behind the FCA's interest in the sector.

Mr Nixon became deputy chairman in 2009 and is not a candidate for the chairmanship, according to insiders.

Mr Corbett is stepping back to concentrate on his other roles, which include chairing Britvic, the soft drinks producer, and Betfair, the online betting exchange.

Moneysupermarket has grown profits from £33.7m in 2006 to £66.5m last year, and now has a market value of close to £1bn.

A Moneysupermarket spokesman declined to comment on Friday.

:: Watch Sky News live on television, on Sky channel 501, Virgin Media channel 602 and Freeview channel 82