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Meet the Management
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 LendingTree 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.
Neil manages LendingTree’s daily operations including sales, business development, and partner operations. Neil and his team are additionally responsible for managing company revenue and LendingTree’s contact center. He brings over 15 years of sales and business development leadership to his role.
Prior to joining LendingTree in 2013, Neil served as Head of Digital Sales for CBS Television and Radio where he led the effort to transition advertisers from over-the-air campaigns to multi-media campaigns. Neil has served as Executive Vice President of Citysearch where he helped migrate the company from single website format to becoming the Citygrid Network. He also served as the first Vice President – Sales for Yellowpages.com following its acquisition by AT&T.
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.
Chief Financial Officer
Gabe Dalporto joined LendingTree in April 2011 as Chief Marketing Officer for the company, and was named President of the Mortgage Division in February 2013. In June 2015, Gabe assumed the role of Chief Financial Officer for the company and is now leading the initiative to build the finance and analytics driven next phase of the company’s growth.
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 and Strategy Officer
Nikul Patel initially joined LendingTree in 2012 as SVP of Product. Nikul now serves as the company’s Chief Product and Strategy Officer and is responsible for LendingTree’s corporate strategy, product innovation, and customer experience.
Nikul’s career has revolved around transforming online financial services for the benefit of consumers. Prior to joining the LendingTree team, Nikul was COO/VP of Products for Home-Account.com, a start-up focused on innovative online mortgage shopping experiences. Home-Account was later acquired by Bills.com where Nikul served as President of Lendage. Nikul is a co-founder of online real estate search website Movoto.com and also worked at Intel Corporation for 12 years in various senior management roles involving technology products and services for the company. Nikul possesses an MBA with honors in finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a M.S. in Computer Engineering from Florida Atlantic University.
Chief Technology Officer
A long-time tech industry expert and influencer, Dr. Paul Tyma joined the LendingTree team in May 2016 to lead the continued advancements of the LendingTree platform and help bring our technology to life. He has built and run engineering teams at LinkedIn and Morgan Stanley and spent 3 years at Google as an engineer working on internal server development.
An avid entrepreneur, Tyma has founded four Silicon Valley startups including Preemptive Solutions, Manybrain Inc. (which owns Mailinator), Home-account.com (later acquired by Bills.com) and Refresh, Inc. (acquired by LinkedIn). He is a frequent speaker and writer, and is author of one of the original Java books, “Java Primer Plus.”
Dr. Tyma received his Ph.D. in Computer Engineering from Syracuse University, focusing on Java and .NET performance.
Chief Human Resources & Administrative Officer
Claudette Hampton is LendingTree’s Chief Human Resources & Administrative Officer. 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 LendingTree 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 LendingTree 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, Chief Accounting Officer and Treasurer
Carla Shumate has served as Chief Accounting Officer of LendingTree since 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 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 LendingTree legal department, including public company reporting, litigation, intellectual property management, contract review and regulatory matters.
Prior to joining LendingTree, 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.
Head of Sales and Mortgage
Sam joined LendingTree in October 2013 and tasked with managing the migration to LendingTree’s current call center platform. Today, Sam and his team are responsible for maintaining and growing LendingTree’s vast network of lenders through new client and lender sales. Sam manages LendingTree’s home lending product marketplace by creating strategic partnerships while also ensuring LendingTree’s customers have access to only the most qualified lenders available for their financial needs.
Sam brings LendingTree over a decade of lender side experience in addition to his expertise in client sales management. He started his career as a loan officer for mortgage, home equity and personal loan products for Beneficial Mortgage Company and HSBC. Sam then started his own multi-licensed brokerage company, Freedom Financial Solutions, which he grew year over year through creating successful market strategies and building excellent lender relationships. In 2010, Sam sold his company and merged with RMCi Financial where he stayed onboard as SVP managing operations and marketing. He continued his role as SVP when RMCi later merged with Strategic Lending Group.
Sam is a graduate of the University of Georgia and has his ABJ in Public Relations.
Lenny is a cute, cuddly, cynical, bitingly honest, ultra-confident company spokes-puppet. Lenny has no problem saying what we all wish we could. And because he knows everything there is to know about LendingTree he has become a huge advocate, popping-up in unexpected situations to share the message of shopping for loans with everyone willing to listen.