For the fifth time in just over two years, Ditech Holding Corp., which was known as Walter Investment Management Corp. until very recently, has a new CEO.
The nonbank announced Tuesday that it is elevating Jeffrey Baker from chief operating officer to serve as interim CEO and president.
Baker, who also serves as the president of Reverse Mortgage Solutions, replaces Anthony Renzi, who served as the company’s CEO for just over a year.
Initially, the company said that Renzi planned to stay on as CEO and president while the company searched for a replacement.
But now, Renzi has “left the company” and Baker is in as interim CEO and president, effective immediately.
According to the company, Baker will continue to serve as president of Reverse Mortgage Solutions while the company searches for a permanent CEO. The company said that it is identifying and evaluating internal and external candidates for the role, and has engaged Heidrick & Struggles, an executive search firm, to assist with the search.
As stated above, Baker is the company’s fifth CEO since October 2015.
The company’s CEO revolving door began when Mark O’Brien announced he was retiring as chairman and CEO in October 2015.
Denmar Dixon, who previously served as Walter’s vice chairman of the board, chief investment officer and executive vice president, took over as president and CEO after O’Brien left.
But Dixon only served in the role for eight months, resigning in June 2016.
After Dixon left, Walter Investment chose George Awad to fill in as executive chairman and interim CEO while the company’s board searched for a permanent CEO.
Awad’s tenure was short-lived, as the company named Renzi as its CEO in August 2016. Renzi came to the company from Citigroup, where he served as the chief operating officer, managing director and head of operations for Citi’s North America retail bank, commercial bank and CitiMortgage.
Now, after steering Ditech through bankruptcy and a name change, Renzi’s out and Baker’s taking over.
Baker has only been the company’s chief operating officer since December 2017. Prior to that, he served as president of Reverse Mortgage Solutions beginning in October 2016. He joined the company in July 2015 and served in various other capacities between that point and becoming Reverse Mortgage Solutions’ president.
In a release, Ditech calls Baker a “turnaround professional.”
Baker spent the majority of his career as a partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers, serving in a variety of roles, including working with some of the firm’s key clients as well as serving as a partner in the chairman’s office and member of the executive leadership team for PwC Consulting.
More recently, Baker was the co-founder and CEO of Mayday Capital Advisors, a turnaround and restructuring firm, from 2015 to 2016. From 2011 to 2015, Baker served as the turnaround and restructuring practice leader for Wipfli, a business consulting, accounting and professional services firm.
According to Ditech, Baker has served as president, CEO and board member for a number of private and public companies.
“Jeff is a seasoned turnaround professional and an outstanding business leader and operator and we are pleased to appoint him interim CEO during this exciting and important time for Ditech Holding,” Thomas Marano, chairman of Ditech Holding’s board of directors, said.
“Jeff played an important role in leading the turnaround of the company’s reverse mortgage business and has taken on increasing responsibilities serving as chief operations officer since December 2017,” Marano added. “We are confident in his abilities to lead Ditech Holding and ensure a smooth leadership transition as we complete our search for a permanent CEO.”
Baker said that he is “honored” to lead the company as it begins the next stage of its transformation.
“Although this company has been through a lot of change, our mission, to enable the dream of homeownership for our customers and care for them throughout their homeownership lifecycle, remains the same,” Baker said.
“Under Tony’s leadership, we executed a financial restructuring plan and successfully emerged from Chapter 11 as a stronger, more flexible organization,” Baker continued. “Now, as Ditech Holding, we will continue into our next phase of growth and success. Ditech Holding has a premier leadership team and in my new role, I will work closely with them in an effort to create value for our stockholders by optimizing our business and continuously improving our customer experience.”
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