Renovate America Appoints New CEO and Cuts Jobs
Renovate America Inc. recently announced that Roy Guthrie would succeed founding CEO JP McNeill as its new CEO. After just a few weeks in his new position, Guthrie announced major restructuring and productivity initiatives. This includes cutting costs, 100 layoffs (including 75 in San Diego), and maintaining its leadership position in the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing sector.
Roy Guthrie, who has 40 years of experience in the financial services industry, rounded out the company’s new leadership team. Former CEO JP McNeill became Vice Chair of the company’s Board of Directors.
Commenting on his appointment, Guthrie said he had extensive experience as both a CEO and a CFO, serving on boards of leading companies in the consumer finance industry. For Guthrie, the most successful companies “are the ones that ask tough questions, consistently review how they deliver for customers, and have the foresight to make changes.”
Many took that to mean Guthrie was going to take swift action and shake up the home improvement financing firm from top to bottom.
Back in May, the San Diego-based company announced that it was laying off 108 workers. The company’s workforce was slashed by almost 17%, taking the headcount from 640 to 532.
Renovate America provides financing for solar, water, and other home energy upgrades through California’s PACE legislation. PACE financing can cover up to 100% of the cost of solar panels, green windows, artificial turf, and other environmentally-friendly upgrades for homeowners with at least 10% equity.
The debt/cost of the upgrades is tied to the house, not the homeowner, and is repaid over five to 25 years.
PACE financing is facing a bit of an image problem, however. Federal housing agencies have raised concerns about the disclosure of PACE financing, and have likened it to a tax lien on a property, which could be a problem when a homeowner tries to sell the home or refinance a mortgage. Interest rates and fees associated with PACE financing can be high when compared to traditional alternatives, like a second mortgage.
Renovate America Layoffs in San Diego in 2017
Following the layoffs that were announced in May, Renovate America has continued to look for ways to reduce its expenses and become more lean and efficient. On October 30, Renovate America announced major restructuring and productivity initiatives to improve the company’s bottom line. The restructuring plan amounts to 100 employees nationwide losing their jobs, including 76 at its San Diego headquarters.
The latest restructuring program will consolidate certain corporate functions, and it falls in line with new PACE regulations that were signed into California law in early October by Governor Jerry Brown. The two bills passed by state lawmakers increase consumer protections for homeowners taking on PACE debt.
“After the successful effort we supported and endorsed this year to require in law strong new consumer protections for PACE in California, Renovate America is rapidly implementing a more advanced PACE product,” said Guthrie in a company statement. “Our number one priority is delivering the most trusted and best PACE financing for our customers, partners and investors.”
“Renovate America Taps Finance Industry Leader Roy Guthrie as CEO,” Renovate America, October 3, 2017.
“Home improvement financing firm Renovate America cuts 108 jobs,” The San Diego Union-Tribune, May 24, 2017.
“Renovate America Repositions For Growth And Continued PACE Market Leadership,” Renovate America, October 30, 2017.
“Governor Brown Issues Legislative Update,” Office of Edmund G. Brown Jr., October 4, 2017.