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Patti Cook to resign as FoA’s CEO, citing health concerns

Board of directors appointed Graham A. Fleming interim CEO

Multichannel lender Finance of America (FoA) Monday announced Patti Cook will step down from her role as chief executive officer June 30, in anticipation of her retirement due to an existing medical condition. 

The board of directors appointed Graham Fleming, FoA’s president since October 2020, as interim CEO, responsible for the company’s forward, reverse, commercial and home improvement lending segments, as well as lender services. Before joining the company in December 2013, Fleming served as president of Icon Residential Lenders and chief financial officer of AMRESCO Residential Mortgage.

Cook, a HousingWire 2021 Woman of Influence, joined FoA in March 2016 and was named its CEO in October of 2020. She informed the company of her intention to retire in February, which was meant to take effect after the appointment of her successor.

The search for a new CEO is in progress, but an “ongoing medical treatment” pushed Cook to inform the board of directors she’s stepping down.

“After careful consideration of the impact of ongoing medical treatment, I have decided that the best course of action is for me to devote my energy to staying healthy,” Cook said, according to a statement. 

Cook will serve as a senior consultant to the company through Dec. 31, for which the executive will receive a consulting fee of $25,000 per month, according to a document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). 

She also will receive “separation pay” totaling $1,375,000 under a mutual release of claims. The document says her agreement has customary confidentiality, cooperation, non-competition, non-solicitation and non-disparagement provisions. 

Cook also was granted 1,307,195 restricted stock units in June 2021, as part of incentive plans and award agreements with the company, but 653,599 units will not be vested as of her retirement. In addition, the executive was granted the right to receive as many as 136,800 shares of Class A common stock. 

According to Inside Mortgage Finance, Cook is leaving the leadership team of the 32nd largest mortgage lender in the U.S. During her tenure as CEO, the company made its debut on the New York Stock Exchange in April 2021, after merging with the blank-check company Replay Acquisition Corp.

Like many competitors, FoA’s traditional mortgage business has been affected by higher mortgage rates. The company originated $5.1 billion from January to March, down 26% quarter over quarter and 39% year over year. FoA cut almost 600 jobs between March 2021 and March 2022.

Amid larger changes to the Texas-based nonbank lender’s C-Suite and business lines, veteran mortgage executive Bill Dallas left his position as president of Finance of America Mortgage in March. Dallas, a seasoned entrepreneur, joined FoA Mortgage four years ago after selling one of his companies to Finance of America Companies, the Blackstone Group-controlled parent company.  

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