Source of Wealth:Insurance (Gocompare.com)
Occupation:Founder of GoCompare.com
Wales has a new national treasure. Hayley Parsons, founder of the Gocompare insurance comparison website, which is easily worth £400m, admits she has “done all right for a Welsh girl from the valleys". Not half. The Cwmbran-born 37-year-old has worked in insurance since leaving school at 16 with five GCSEs. She spent 14 years at the Admiral group in Cardiff, climbing to the second highest position at its confused.com operation, before setting up Gocompare in 2006. Her modus operandi is a down-to-earth charm that has made her an unbeatable industry networker, coupled with a glass-half-full approach to all things. Gio Compario, the mustachioed opera-singing character in Gocompare’s adverts, has not done her any harm either, despite the ads twice being voted Britain’s most irritating. Parsons insisted on finding a fellow countryman to play the role, and Welsh tenor Wynne Evans duly obliged. His day job has not suffered either — his album of arias, A Song in My Heart, topped the classical charts recently. Gocompare soared into profit in 2009, turning in £12m profit on sales of £74.9m, against a £4m loss in 2008. Profits last year were just shy of £30m. Each month, the company issues more than 2m quotes for car, home, pet, van and motorbike insurance.Parsons’s 23% stake in the operation, based in Newport, is worth £92m, yet the entrepreneur, who lives with her boyfriend and their two sons in St Mellons, Cardiff, still cites Center Parcs Nottingham as her favorite holiday destination. Other assets add £3m to her wealth.
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