Ron Suber, one of the online lending industry’s most visible cheerleaders, is stepping down from his position as president of Prosper Marketplace.
The move comes at a time when both Prosper and the broader industry it helped to pioneer are struggling. The headwinds include diminished exuberance from venture capitalists, reduced interest from large institutional investors and stronger competition from banks.
A spokeswoman for the San Francisco-based company said Thursday that Suber will remain with Prosper as a senior adviser and president emeritus, but he will have a smaller day-to-day role.
“Now feels like the right time to begin a new personal journey,” Suber said in a statement released by the company. “One not fully planned, but filled with exciting possibilities, new challenges and embraced uncertainty.”
Suber, a former managing director at Wells Fargo Securities, joined Prosper in 2013. Since then, he has been a frequent presence at industry conferences, often touting the disruptive potential of online lending.
The early stage of Suber’s tenure was a time of rapid growth for Prosper, as the firm moved beyond its roots as a platform that linked borrowers with individual savers and started selling its personal installment loans to large institutional investors.
But more recently, the privately held company has been in retrenchment mode, cutting staff amid weakening demand from investors. CEO Aaron Vermut stepped down in November 2016 and was succeeded by David Kimball.
In February, Prosper announced a deal with a consortium of institutional investors that agreed to provide up to $5 billion in loan funding over the next two years in exchange for an equity stake in the company.
Prosper originated $586 million in loans during the first quarter of 2017, down from $978 million in the year-earlier period.