Walter Investment Appoints New CEO, Executive Chairman

Walter Investment Management Corp. (NYSE: WAC) today announced the appointment of a new executive chairman and chief executive officer.

Effective June 30, veteran consumer finance executive George M. Awad will assume the roles of interim CEO and executive chairman of the Walter Investment board of directors.

Awad, a principal at the wealth management firm Gibraltar Capital, comes to Walter with more than two decades of experience at General Electric (GE) and Citigroup. Previously, he held multiple leadership positions in Citibank, including CEO of Global Consumer Bank in Europe Middle East and Africa. His other roles at Citi included serving as CEO of North America Cards and CEO of Consumer Finance for Citi Holdings.

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“As we continue our transformation of the Company, we believe Walter will benefit greatly from George’s leadership,” said Daniel Beltzman, a director on Walter’s board, in a written statement.

Before joining Citi, Awad spent 18 years at GE, where he managed an expansion effort that led to the addition of more than 2,000 branches and the introduction of numerous new products. His previous positions at GE included general management, business development and sales roles throughout the U.S., Asia and the United Kingdom.

“This company [Walter] has a strong operating platform and a team of mission-driven people who want to make a difference in the lives of millions of Americans who haven’t been served well by traditional banks,” Awad said in a prepared statement. “The road ahead will have challenges, but I believe if we accept these challenges and hold ourselves accountable for our performance, we can build a world-class, customer-focused company that ensures repeat business for recurring mortgage needs.”

Awad joins Walter following a “disappointing” financial performance that resulted in a net income loss of $263.2 million, or $7 per share, for the entire year ended December 31, 2015; and a net loss of $172.7 million, or $4.85 per share, for the first quarter of 2016.

Walter, which is the parent company of Security One Lending and Reverse Mortgage Solutions, reported an adjusted net loss of $10.4 million in its reverse mortgage business during the first quarter.

With the addition of Awad, Walter plans to rely upon his experience to lead the company’s “re-engineering processes” designed to reduce costs and improve revenue opportunities to strengthen its financial position, Beltzman said.

“George is a values-driven leader and, having spent the majority of his career in consumer focused businesses understands that people—employees and customers—are central to success,” he said.

Awad also arrives to Walter just months following the company’s most recent management shakeup, which saw the appointment of Beltzman as Chairman of the company’s board of directors, and the appointment of David C. Schneider as chief operating officer.

In its announcement of Awad’s hiring, Walter noted that Beltzman will relinquish his role as chairman and will remain a director on the company’s board.

As a result of the management changes, Denmar Dixon will resign as CEO and vice chairman of Walter Investment and will now assume an advisory role with the company.

“We thank Denmar for his hard work, dedication and years of service,” Beltzman said. “Denmar’s leadership was instrumental in Walter’s significant growth, positioning in the market and in assembling the quality companies that comprise the platform today.”

Dixon, who has served on Walter’s board of directors since 2009 and joined the management team in 2010, assumed the role of CEO in October 2015.

“I believe change can be a powerful catalyst for accomplishment,” Dixon said in a written statement. “While this was a difficult decision to make personally, I believe it was the right one for both Walter and for me at this time. I look forward to working with George and the team to achieve a seamless transition and assist the company in achieving its true value and potential.”

Written by Jason Oliva

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