Penguin Portals Ltd has appointed the former chair of Skyscanner – Margaret Rice-Jones – to head up its board. The appointment comes as the network ramps up its mission to launch comparison platforms for financial services across the world.
Penguin Portals Ltd is one of two holding companies that make up ‘Penguin Portals’ – a network of six comparison businesses located across Europe, Asia and Mexico.
Rice-Jones has a proven track record of delivering successful global growth strategies for digital platforms. Part of her scope will be to grow the Penguin Portals network – already the largest network of its kind – beyond its six comparison operations, which includes Confused.com in the UK. The network aims to empower even more people to make better decisions about financial services.
Margaret brings with her decades of experience fronting tech and online companies, helping them to deliver successful global growth strategies. She spent almost three years as the chair of Skyscanner, overseeing the business’s expansion. In that time the online travel marketplace was active in M&A and established offices all over the world, including in China. Shortly before Rice-Jones’ departure in May 2016, the company reported having 50 million visitors each month and had closed a £128m funding round. Rice-Jones has also held chair positions and delivered growth strategies for Holiday Extras, Xaar, Origami Energy, Openet and QUMAS. She was previously CEO at Aircom International and has also held senior roles at Motorola.
Rice-Jones will lead a stellar board who have a portfolio of experience across financial and technology services. They include Elena Betes, the CEO of Penguin Portals, who also led Rastreator.com, the Group’s Spanish comparison platform, to be the successful market leader it is today. Also on the board is Margaret Johnson OBE, CEO of Leagas Delaney advertising agency, whose experience includes a nine-year stint as a non-executive director for Admiral Group plc, and Geraint Jones, Chief Financial Officer at Admiral Group plc.
Penguin Portals is made up of two holding companies – Penguin Portals Ltd and Preminen. The network has leading comparison platforms in the UK (Confused.com), Spain (Rastreator.com) and France (LeLynx.fr), and they have accelerated expansion into even more new territories over the last three years, launching Rastreator.mx in Mexico, Tamoniki.com in Turkey, and GoSahi.com in India. Penguin Portals’ specialised tech centre in India is developing a global architecture strategy to support the growing number of operations. Combined, the operations have turnover in excess of £140 million.
Margaret Rice-Jones, Chair of Penguin Portals Ltd, said: “For online businesses to truly succeed, they need to think about global scale. But what sets Penguin Portals apart is that the team know how to appeal locally.
“Tech is global by its very nature. It transcends borders and time zones. As does the world’s growing reliance on financial products, such as insurance, utilities and broadband. Against a backdrop of tighter regulations and a boom in the number of providers to choose from, the service offered by Penguin Portals’ platforms is now universally in demand.
“But while an abundance of choice is a universal challenge, people across the world have different needs and expectations. The market and regulatory environments are different. The team at Penguin Portals understand this, and their localised approach has made expansion into six countries across the world possible. Data-insights have been key to identifying shared opportunities for success across geographical borders.
“I look forward to seeing Penguin Portals grow the colony and venture into new territories.”
Elena Betes, CEO of Penguin Portals, said: “Margaret is a recognised innovator when it comes to global expansion. We’re honoured that she recognises the potential of Penguin Portals beyond the six countries in which we’re currently established.
“We disrupted an entire market by launching Confused.com as the first comparison platform for car insurance in the UK. Now our comparison platforms help people all over the world make empowered decisions on many more products. With Margaret’s guidance we will be able to empower even more people to make better decisions about financial services.”