Social Finance Inc., one of the most highly valued private financial-technology startups in the U.S., said on Monday night that Chairman and Chief Executive Mike Cagney would step down by the end of the year.
Mr. Cagney said in a note to employees that recent litigation brought against the company and “negative press have become a distraction from the company’s core mission.” The company said he would remain in the role until SoFi’s board of directors chooses a successor, a process that it has already started.
Social Finance Inc., a fintech company whose hard-charging ethos propelled it to success, is grappling with accusations about its workplace culture that mirror a broader storm about the treatment of women at Silicon Valley technology startups.
In interviews, nearly a dozen current and former employees working in various departments told The Wall Street Journal that some executives, including the company’s former finance chief, engaged in or tolerated what they described as improper behavior toward women in recent years.
Nino Fanlo, who was SoFi’s chief financial officer until the end of May, said he occasionally complimented both men and women’s outfits and touched both men and women’s shoulders to try to be friendly. “It wasn’t sexual,” he said.
SoFi’s board said Mr. Fanlo “left the company in May 2017 to pursue another executive opportunity. He no longer has any relationship with the company.”
Separately, SoFi’s board disclosed after questioning from the Journal that in 2012 it paid money to settle a dispute between a lower-level employee and Chief Executive Michael Cagney. The nature of the dispute isn’t known, but the board said it didn’t involve a sexual relationship.