Meet the leadership
Company Founder and CEO
After experiencing the frustrations and complexities of getting his first mortgage, Doug Lebda envisioned a way to empower consumers in the loan process where banks compete for the customers' business. In 1996, Doug founded LendingTree which revolutionized how consumers shop for loans and how lenders reach new customers.
After launching nationally in July 1998, Doug led LendingTree through a successful IPO in 2000, through the dot-com meltdown of 2001 and a successful sale to IAC/InterActiveCorp in 2003. From 2005 to 2008, Doug served as IAC's President and Chief Operating Officer, and in 2008, rejoined Tree.com as it spun out from IAC as a separate public company.
Before founding LendingTree, Doug worked as an auditor and consultant for PriceWaterhouseCoopers after receiving his Bachelor's degree from Bucknell University.
President, Mortgage & CMO
Gabe Dalporto joined LendingTree in April 2011 and is Chief Marketing Officer for the company as well as President of the Mortgage Division.
Gabe brings 18 years of primarily marketing and financial services experience to his role at LendingTree. He was most recently Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer of online brokerage Zecco Holdings, where he led integrated online and offline marketing, business development and PR. While at Zecco, Gabe developed and launched the company's cutting edge financial social networking platform. Other experience includes serving as a VP in marketing at E*Trade Financial, where he was part of the senior marketing leadership team that re-ignited the company's growth following the dot-com bust; and a VP in marketing at JP Morgan Chase where he spearheaded cross sell initiatives. Gabe also has experience in database marketing, strategy consulting and nuclear engineering.
Gabe earned a BS in nuclear engineering from the University of Florida and an MS in nuclear engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is an avid Gators fan.
Chief Product Officer
Nikul Patel brings 16 years of technology and product management experience to the role at LendingTree. His career has revolved around transforming online financial services for the benefit of consumers. Prior to joining the team, Nikul was COO/VP Products for Home-Account.com, a start-up with an innovative mortgage shopping experience. Home-Account was later acquired by Bills.com where Nikul served as President of Lendage, the long form mortgage business of Bills.com. Nikul is a co-founder of online real estate search website Movoto.com and also worked at Intel Corporation for 12 years in senior management capacity where he managed technology products and services for the company. Nikul possesses an MBA with honors in finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Chief Financial Officer
Alex Mandel formally joined LendingTree as its Chief Financial Officer on July 30, 2012, after working as a financial consultant to the company for two years, acting as head of corporate development. In his role as CFO, Alex will continue to focus on strategic finance initiatives, corporate strategy and general financial management.
Prior to joining LendingTree, Alex was an investment banker working with clients in the Media & Entertainment industry, providing financial advisory and capital raising services. Most recently he was a Managing Director of Centerview Partners, LLC, an investment banking advisory firm, and previously spent twelve years with Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc., including serving as a Managing Director from 2003-2008.
Alex received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Tufts University and an MBA from Columbia Business School.
SVP, HR & Administration
Claudette Parham is LendingTree's Senior Vice President of Human Resources & Administration. In that role, she heads the company's efforts in human resources strategy and management, facilities and call center operations. Working with a CEO and leadership team that demand creativity in all facets of the employment relationship and recognizing that the strength of Tree has always been its bright and diverse workforce, Claudette and her team are laser-focused on identifying and implementing innovative ways to source and retain excellent employees.
Early professional experiences at Westinghouse Electric, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals provided Claudette with both breadth and depth in the HR discipline. From those firms, she moved into leadership roles, working as a member of senior management teams to design and run organizations and to make the most effective use of human capital. Prior to leading the Tree.com team, she served as Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Baker & Taylor, Inc., headquartered in Charlotte. Claudette earned a Bachelor's degree from Winthrop University and a Master's degree from the University of South Carolina.
SVP and General Counsel
Kate Pierce joined LendingTree's legal department in September 2010 and became SVP & General Counsel in August 2012. As General Counsel, Kate oversees Tree's legal department, including public company reporting, litigation, intellectual property management, contract review and regulatory matters.
Prior to joining Tree, Kate was an attorney in the Corporate Transactions & Securities group at Alston & Bird LLP. Before attending law school, Kate was a financial analyst in the Investment Banking Division at Goldman, Sachs & Co. in New York.
Kate received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Policy Studies from Duke University and her J.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Law in Chapel Hill.
SVP, Chief Accounting Officer and Treasurer
Carla Shumate has been appointed as Chief Accounting Officer of LendingTree, effective January 31, 2013. Carla joined the Company in December 2012 from King Pharmaceuticals, Inc. where she held various positions from 2001 until 2012, including Senior Vice President and Controller since 2005. Previously, Carla held various positions with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP from 1993 until 2000, including Manager from 1998 until 2000. Carla received her Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Wake Forest University and has been a Certified Public Accountant since 1997.
SVP, Business Development
Bruce Cook is responsible for corporate and business development for the LendingTree brand, including content syndication and strategic partnerships. He is also accountable for the performance marketing channels, including ad networks (email, display and search arbitrage), affiliate and affinity programs.
Bruce is a twelve year veteran of personal finance consumer acquisition with strong knowledge of the digital marketing ecosystem and passion and in-depth understanding for online media and technology. He was fortunate to previously work with Experian / LowerMyBills during the "largest advertiser on the Internet" massive scale days.
VP and GM, Auto
Rick Finch joined LendingTree on April 4, 2004, and has served in multiple roles spanning LendingTree's mortgage, real estate, auto and insurance businesses. Rick currently serves as the General Manager of the Automotive Division, and is focused on expanding the company's auto finance business and while building new products to increase value for consumers, auto finance lenders, and automotive dealers.
Prior to his current role, Rick served as the company's Global Head of Product after several years where he led marketing, product, and operations efforts for RealEstate.com, and subsequently served on the team to build out Tree.com's emerging businesses. Rick has also worked in various technology and marketing roles in the finance sector before joining Tree.com, focusing on credit card and online stock and options trading with TSYS, Bank of America, and TradeKing.
Rick received his Bachelor of Science degrees in Sociology and Applied Computer Science from Columbus State University.
SVP and GM, Education
Tamara Kotronis was appointed General Manager of the Education vertical of LendingTree in December 2012. In her role as GM, Tamara oversees the marketing and sales functions as well as the day-to-day operations of the education business unit. Prior to this role, Tamara was Senior Vice President of Financial Planning and Analysis and Investor Relations, where she was responsible investor relations, budgeting, forecasting, and financial planning across all brands and businesses of LendingTree and was in that role since May 2010. Tamara joined the company in September of 1999 and served in various capacities within the Finance department between 1999 and 2010.
Prior to joining Tree.com, Tamara was an Analyst for First Union Capital Markets' Structured Products division.
Tamara received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Finance and Political Science and MBA from Averett University.
General Manager, Home Services
Neil Salvage is General Manager of LendingTree's Home Services Division, and is focused on leveraging the strength of the LendingTree brand to enhance the consumer and merchant experience of its legacy DoneRight!® brand. Neil and his team are laser-focused on helping homeowners connect with reputable, qualified and reliable service professionals to complete their home improvement projects. At the same time, the team prides itself on providing high quality consumer leads to its network of contractors.
Neil is a 15 year veteran of local online marketing and is an expert at connecting buyers and sellers via search, mobile, and social experiences. With an extensive background in sales, marketing, business development, and strategic partnerships, Neil is a featured panelist at many industry conferences including Kelsey Group, Association of Directory Marketing, Inc., and Search Engine Strategies. Prior to joining LendingTree, Neil served as Head of Digital Sales for CBS Television and Radio, Executive Vice President or CityGrid Media, and Vice President of Yellowpages.com.
Neil holds two B.S. degrees from the University of South Carolina in both Business Administration and Management, as well as an M.S. degree in Computer Resources and Information Management from Webster University.