Who is Andrew Salmon, the former uSwitch.com CEO?

Energy price comparison website uSwitch.com has undergone a remarkable journey since its inception in 2000, where Andrew Salmon was CEO. Unlike many other internet-based innovations, the service has stood the test of time and has survived since the millennium. It also paved the way for other price comparison sites, which now account for a huge proportion of web traffic.

Andrew Salmon, George Mountbatten and Vipul Amin founded uSwitch in 2.000

It was founded in September 2000 by Lord Milford Haven, a cousin of Queen Elizabeth. He wanted to create a platform that took advantage of deregulated energy markets, allowing consumers to compare prices and to easily switch between suppliers. He appointed Andrew Salmon as the company’s CEO.

Still in his late 20s when appointed to the uSwitch.com board, Andrew Salmon was younger than many of his peers, but he came with an intimidating resume and a keen business mind. He was an influential figure in the growth of uSwitch.com, overseeing a major sale in 2006 and serving as the company’s chief for a total of eight years.

Here, we take a look at Andrew Salmon’s career before uSwitch.com.

Education and early career

Having achieved a bachelor’s degree in economics and a masters in investment, the young British economist Andrew Salmon soon made a name for himself as a former corporate financier at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the prestigious auditing and professional services firm. His career highlights here include advising the Israeli government on the development of a new gas industry and assisting British Gas with the TransCo and Centrica demerger.

Later, he moved into the energy industry and secured a high-level position as Commercial Manager for London Electricity. Like other private energy firms, LE was struggling to find its feet after the sudden deregulation and liberalisation of the UK’s energy market and was seeking new ways to attract customers and secure a slice of the energy market. Knowing the rise of the internet was the key to success, Salmon looked for ways to move away from traditional door-to-door energy sales, and to connect customers to companies through the internet.

Andrew Salmon: CEO in uSwitch

Andrew Salmon and the humble beginnings of uSwitch.com

When Lord Milford Haven was seeking a reliable business partner who could support his idea for a price comparison and switching platform, he came across a young, fresh business mind and sought to make him a partner. Andrew Salmon was made CEO of the new uSwitch.com brand, a role in which he remained for eight years.

uSwitch.com’s business model was based on charging energy providers a small commission from every switch made by consumers, enabling it to make a profit and fund the operation. However, it was entirely free to use for consumers. The site enabled consumers to compare utility tariffs side-by-side and made it simple for customers to switch from one supplier to another.

Through strong organic growth and efficient partnerships, Andrew Salmon was a key influencer of his time and he supported the website while it grew its user base. uSwitch.com went from strength to strength in its first six years, eventually branching out from energy suppliers and including all manner of services for comparison, such as mobile providers, personal finance and insurance products.

The growth of price comparison sites

In addition to its own success, uSwitch.com paved the way for a new genre of website: the price comparison platform. From Comparethemarket to Trivago, comparison sites are a staple of the modern internet and in huge demand by consumers. The majority of consumers say they have used one of these comparison sites at least once, while leading financial experts advise always checking several comparison sites before making the final decision to switch.

The 2006 Scripps buyout

In 2006, the fast-growing uSwitch.com brand was acquired by US media firm E.W. Scripps Company. The Scripps takeover was valued at $336 million (around £210 million) – making it the largest internet deal made in the UK at that time. Andrew Salmon oversaw the bidding war, which saw Experian and the Daily Mail competing for control of the site, and he brokered the final deal for the record-breaking sum in 2006.

Where is uSwitch.com and Andrew Salmon today?

After the deal was completed, he remained in his position for a further two years. This allowed him to ensure the takeover was smooth and to support the business during its transition. He stepped down as CEO in 2008. Since then, the site continues to be one of the UK’s leading comparison and switching platforms, currently owned by Zoopla who bought it in 2015 for a reported £160 million fee.

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