Wonga boss Errol Damelin to quit lending firm

Wonga chairman Errol Damelin

Wonga chairman Errol Damelin

Wonga chairman Errol Damelin is expected to leave the money-lending firm later this year.

His likely departure comes as a new City regulator - the Financial Conduct Authority - prepares to impose tougher rules on lenders when it takes control of the industry on Tuesday.

South African Mr Damelin co-founded Wonga with fellow Jewish businessman Jonty Hurwitz in 2006.

Now based in Hampstead, north London, Mr Damelin owns shares worth millions of pounds and may remain on the board as a non-executive director.

Wonga has not commented on his expected departure.

Despite its rapid rise to become an industry leader, reporting profits of £62.5 million last year, Wonga has been widely criticised for its high interest rates and accused of preying on the poor.

Last year Jewish Care was forced to defend its invitation to Mr Damelin to be guest speaker at a fundraising event.

Concerns were raised over the charity's decision to offer him a platform.

The Archbishop of Canterbury said he wanted the Church of England to offer its own credit union services to "compete Wonga out of existence".

Mr Damelin was born in South Africa in 1969 to a Jewish family. He attended the University of Cape Town, where he studied business and after graduating in 1992, he made aliyah to Israel.

He became an investment banker and later founded his first business, the Barzelan steel-wire production company near Jerusalem.

Last updated: 11:28am, March 31 2014