Andrew Salmon: the brains behind uSwitch.com

As the former CEO of uSwitch.com, Andrew Salmon has without a doubt had an interesting life and a successful track record in business.

While not always plain sailing for Mr Salmon, the sale of uSwitch to American media company EW Scripps in 2006 for £210m demonstrates that this was an endeavour worth carrying out.

In this article, we’ll take a look at how uSwitch grew from a small website into one of th UK’s leading price comparison websites – and the impact Mr Salmon had on the company.

Where it all began

In the early 2000s, interest in the Internet was at an all-time high – a fact Andrew Salmon was all too aware of.

That’s where the original idea for uSwitch came from: although setting it up was a risk, especially in the aftermath of the dot com bust, Salmon and his colleagues – including George Milford Haven – knew that it was a gamble worth taking.

Salmon was working with EDF Energy at this time, and he was investigating new, innovative methods of getting more signups from customers. With an eye set on the future, it was at this point that he and George Milford Haven realised there was a whole world of energy comparison to explore.

That’s where uSwitch came in. By offering consumers the chance to compare their energy tariffs online without having to pay for the privilege or succumb to bias or marketing materials from one energy firm or another, he and George Milford Haven soon worked out that they were on to a winner.

When consumers saw the other deals available on the market, the companies they were comparing were soon spurred to reduce their traiffs – pushing down prices across the whole market.

Not only did it help consumers, it also helped the companies themselves. The uSwitch model gave energy providers the chance to cut their costs, as the marketing channel they now had access to was much cheaper than their previous ones.

Building it up for sale

Over the eight years during which Andrew Salmon was CEO of uSwitch, he transformed the company from a small, seven-person team into one of the UK’s best known price comparison sites.

Without the leadership of himself, George Milford Haven and the others, it is unlikely the company would have been able to sell at the high price it did.

Andrew Salmon’s keys to success

When it comes to their records, it’s clear that Andrew Salmon, George Milford Haven and the rest of the early team were thinking ahead when they launched uSwitch.com.

One of Andrew Salmon’s key assets has to be his experience at a range of different firms. Not only did he develop a useful understanding of consumer behaviour in the energy markets while working at EDF and government agency Ofgem, but his experience in finance also stood him in good stead. While working as a corporate finance manager at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, he picked up a collection of business skills including everything from how to ensure a company has a good cash flow to turning a sustainable profit.

Not only that, but Andrew Salmon is educated in relevant fields. He has, for example, a BA degree in Economics from Plymouth University as well as an MA in Finance and Investment from the University of York.

With skills like these and colleagues such as George Milford Haven on his side, it’s no wonder that when uSwitch sold it went for double the £100m price tag which some market analysts believed it would eventually go for. As the largest Internet business sale since Friends Reunited sold for £175m in December 2005, Andrew Salmon and the team he built with George Milford Haven have certainly left their mark on the price comparison industry and the world of energy market competition.