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In a letter to investors, SoFi CEO says he will refocus on internal culture

  • In its investor letter, interim SoFi CEO Tom Hutton affirmed a commitment to rebuild the culture within the company.
  • SoFi is launching an internal initiative to define the culture and values of the firm as it seeks a new CEO and long-term CFO.
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In a letter to investors, SoFi CEO says he will refocus on internal culture

SoFi is moving on from a management shakeup that saw former CEO Mike Cagney out the door after sexual harassment allegations.

Recent events have focused public attention on the company’s internal workings, drawing comparisons with other Silicon Valley tech scandals like Uber. But this week, the company said it’s taking steps to rebuild its culture.

“The executive team and I have taken a hard look at SoFi’s culture since the allegations, and frankly we still see a lot of room for improvement,” wrote interim CEO and executive chairman Tom Hutton, in a letter to investors Thursday.

While Hutton would not comment on the specific allegations as cases make their way through the courts, he noted that SoFi is taking sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior seriously, and launching a company-wide initiative called “One SoFi” to define the corporate values and culture. “Our goal is to establish SoFi as a leading example of excellence in our professional culture and share values.”

SoFi is also looking for a new CEO with the help of search firm that helped Uber find its current CEO Dara Khosrowshahi — Heidrick and Struggles. It’s also looking to identify candidates for a long-term CFO position.

To Chris Allieri, founder and principal of public relations and public affairs consultancy Mulberry & Astor, the mention of a culture transformation in an investor letter from the firm is interesting, but what’s truly going to make a difference for the brand is the concrete steps that follow.

“What’s more interesting is what the action plan is, what are the specific goals built into the quarters,” he said. “The lesson of SoFi is one that high-growth, sales-centric types of work environments can learn from — this super competitive, bottomline driven, must-meet-numbers culture has compromised what adult employees should be doing [in the workplace].”

Bad press notwithstanding, the letter emphasized that the company is open for business, and doing well. Loan originations during the third quarter were $3.5 billion, up 79 percent from a year ago, and adjusted operating revenue during the same period was $145 million, up 61 percent from a year ago. Despite pulling back its application for a banking license, it’s going to deliver banking products in partnership with banks through the launch of SoFi Money in the new year. Plans for international expansion to Canada and Australia, along with a more aggressive push into asset management have been shelved for now and it’s selling Cabezon Investment Group, a hedge fund founded by former CEO Cagney that it acquired last year.

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