We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
RSS FeedPeople Management

Gocompare CFO on how early boardroom experience put him in the fast lane


Kevin Hughes, CFO of Gocompare.com

Article comments

Gaining boardroom experience early in his career is the one skill that Kevin Hughes reckons helped catapult him - aged 30 - into the role of chief financial officer. That, and getting on with people, says the CFO of comparison website Gocompare.com.

Hughes, who has spent the best part of his career in the insurance industry, became CFO of Gocompare in 2007, shortly after the website’s launch by founder and CEO Hayley Parsons - a former work colleague of Hughes’.

The two qualities together with a strong focus on marketing helped Hughes develop the business alongside Parsons from a start up business with a large loan from esure into a 96-strong workforce with a turnover of £101.6 million - a rise of 35 percent on 2009 - in five short years.

Kevin Hughes, CFO of Gocompare“It’s been tough for wider economy but Gocompare managed to sustain significant growth in a tough economy. Our product is a grudge purchase so we have been able to save money for customers.

Recently we had an email from someone who said we had saved them £1000 on car insurance! It’s a recession-proof business. The last year and a half and for the next year it’s all about building the business and investing,” Hughes says.

His enthusiasm for the job is palpable, but then he is still 35 years old. “My career couldn’t be any better than it is at the moment. I’m at the pinnacle of what I wanted to achieve,” the Pontypridd-born CFO says.

Brand awareness has escalated since the company launched its infamous advertising campaign fronted by Welsh opera singer Wynne Evans, better known as his alter ego GioCompario with over-sized moustache. It might be one of the most annoying campaigns to be launched on to British TV screens but it boosted brand awareness by 450 percent a year after its launch.

It was a necessary evil in a tough and highly competitive insurance comparison market after the runaway success of Comparethemarket’s equally annoying meerkat ad campaign. A big marketing campaign was also interestingly championed by the CFO who oversees marketing.

“We started off with more educational ads with a great response rate but we got to a point where there was little differentiation between all the competitors. So we decided to come up with something new. We felt it was time when we needed to differentiate ourselves very strongly. Hence the opera singer was born,” says Hughes, an ACCA-qualified accountant and enthusiastic sportsman.

It wasn’t just brand awareness that GioCompario helped with however. Thanks to the ad campaign’s success the company was able to repay early a £30 million loan facility secured from esure, says Hughes. In April Gocompare posted a 2010 full year pre-tax profit rise of 84 percent to £29.9 million.

Hughes is confident that there remains a lot more room for growth despite the crowded marketplace. “Over 25 percent of consumers have not yet used a comparison website so there’s still so much room for growth.”

Aim high

Hughes’ began his career as an accounts clerk at Admiral in Cardiff, after eight months and a hunger for greater things once he’d learned the basics of business, he moved to Cardiff-based Avana Bakeries as a trainee accountant where he began his accountancy training. But 18 months later Hughes got itchy feet again and began searching for another post.

Share:

Comments

Gocompare CFO on how early boardroom experience put him in the fast lane
People Management

Finance skills evolve as the recovery takes hold

Finance skills evolve as the recovery takes hold

Finance teams need to learn soft skills as corporate priorities evolvemore ..


ITV group FD to join DS Smith board

Ian Griffiths to take up non-executive director role at packaging companymore ..

Unemployment falls to five-year low

Headline rate of unemployment at 6.9% as wages rise above inflation ratemore ..

Microsaic Systems appoints new FD

Andrew Darby to succeed Malcolm Batemanmore ..

Do you have what it takes to become a non-executive?

The benefits of board service for CFOsmore ..

How level is the playing field for women in business?

Vince Cable moots women-only shortlists just ahead of international women’s daymore ..

Send to a friend

Email this article to a friend or colleague:


PLEASE NOTE: Your name is used only to let the recipient know who sent the story, and in case of transmission error. Both your name and the recipient's name and address will not be used for any other purpose.



In Depth
How M&A teams can create value by challenging the CEO

How M&A teams can create value by challenging the CEO

A typical “hold” period of nine to 18 months can generate increased sale value more ..

In Depth
What every company needs to do about big data?

What every company needs to do about big data?

In the first of a three part series, Pat Brans explores just how big 'big data' will get? more ..

Advertisement

* *