Rocket Companies, the parent company of Rocket Mortgage and Rocket Homes, is making significant leadership moves mere days before reporting its second quarter earnings performance.
The Detroit-based company announced Monday that Varun Krishna would become the company’s new CEO. Rocket also revealed that Bob Walters plans to retire from his role as CEO of Rocket Mortgage.
Starting September 5, Krishna will succeed Bill Emerson, who served as interim CEO of Rocket Companies.
“I am honored to join the Rocket Companies team,” said Krishna. “Rocket has a rock-solid foundation and tremendous potential, with its comprehensive ecosystem and industry-renowned technology, strong brand and award-winning client service.”
While he will be directly succeeding Emerson at the helm of the company, Krishna’s appointment marks the next chapter for the company after former Rocket CEO Jay Farner ended his near three-decade career with Rocket in June.
With over 20 years of building consumer platform strategies for leading global fintech companies, Krishna is coming to Rocket from Intuit, Inc., where he most recently served as EVP and general manager, overseeing the company’s suite of consumer and tax products and services, including TurboTax and TurboTax Live.
Krishna also served as senior director of Product at PayPal before Intuit.
Rocket Companies Founder and Chairman Dan Gilbert described Krishna in a Monday statement as a “visionary leader with a proven track record of helping consumers achieve financial freedom.”
“Varun’s experience aligns perfectly with Rocket’s vision, making him the ideal person to drive growth, strong performance and operational excellence at Rocket,” Gilbert said, welcoming Krishna to the company while commending Emerson for his time at the helm.
Emerson will remain as Rocket’s interim CEO until September 5 and assist with the transition as Krishna steps into the role. Emerson will assume the roles of president and COO for Rocket Companies.
September 5 will also be Walter’s last day at Rocket Mortgage, at which point Krishna will assume the role of CEO.
“Since joining Rocket Mortgage more than 26 years ago, Bob has built an exceptional team and strengthened our foundation to enable the company to grow in any market,” Gilbert said.
That was evident in Rocket’s response to the rollercoaster ride that the mortgage lending industry endured in 2022 under surging rates and persisting economic uncertainty.
While Rocket Mortgage wasn’t unscathed by the market shift, Walters helped the lender weather the turbulence by adapting and focusing on long-term moves to help the company thrive in the future.
The leadership changes come at an interesting time for Rocket, as the company prepares to announce how it performed last quarter against the backdrop of a mortgage market that saw rates rise to near 7% and economic uncertainty spurred by turmoil in the financial sector and the Fed’s ongoing fight against inflation.
Rocket earned $666 million in the first quarter, a far cry from the $2.67 billion the company reeled in during the same period last year. The company also posted a net loss of $411 million.
Despite challenges spurred by low inventory and declining existing-home sales, executives characterized Q1 as a strong quarter for the company during a conference call with investors.
“We are taking a new, innovative approach to client acquisition, retention and lifetime value that we believe will be a gamechanger for the industry and drive our continued growth and purchase,” said Emerson in a May statement. “Over time, we believe this will translate into substantial and sustainable growth in marketshare, revenue and profitability.”