Posted on September 14, 2015, BY Staff

Doug Lebda '92

Doug Lebda '92, chairman, CEO and founder of LendingTree.com, will be the first speaker in the 2015 Walling Lecture Series on Thursday, Sept. 17, at 7 p.m. in Trout Auditorium. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and admission is free.

Presented by the School of Management, the annual series brings highly accomplished Bucknellians to campus for on-stage interviews in which they share their leadership story and discuss their evolution as leaders.  

Frustrated by the process of getting his first mortgage, Lebda saw a need to empower consumers in what is, for most, the largest financial transaction in their lives — financing a home. He envisioned a process where lenders would compete for the borrower's business in a fair and open marketplace. In 1996 he founded LendingTree.com, which has revolutionized how consumers shop for loans and how lenders reach new customers, serving more than 32 million borrowers.  

Lebda launched LendingTree nationally in July 1998 and led it through a successful IPO in 2000, the dot-com meltdown of 2001 and a successful sale to IAC/InterActiveCorp in 2003. From 2005 to 2008, he served as IAC's president and chief operating officer, leading it through a transition from a holding company to a unified operating company.  

Lebda rejoined Tree.com in 2008 as it spun out from IAC as a separate public company. In 2015, Tree.com changed its corporate name to LendingTree Inc. to better reflect the company's strategy and flagship brand. LendingTree has since moved beyond mortgages to connect consumers and businesses with personal loans, small business loans, auto loans, student loans, home services and more.  

In addition to LendingTree and his nonprofit work, Lebda helps lead other companies that transform the way consumers transact online. He is the co-founder of Tykoon, an innovative financial platform for families and children, and is an active mentor and angel investor.  

The Fitz Roy and Mary Jane Walling Management Endowment funds the lecture series. Its focus on leadership honors Fitz Walling's many years as a University leader. He served as the longtime dean of admissions; helped start the College of Arts & Sciences, the College of Engineering and the former College of Business Administration; and established the Office of Planned Giving.  

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