Sagent has announced that a former government-sponsored enterprise executive who has served on its board has been appointed to the chief operating officer role at the company.
Marianne Sullivan, who was senior vice president of single-family business operations at Fannie Mae between 2014 and 2017, is now charged with overseeing the start of the second phase in a multi-year plan Sagent has to modernize servicing. Sullivan also served as Fannie’s chief risk officer between 2007 and 2014.
Her appointment follows the first phase of Sagent’s plan, which was to partner with publicly traded mortgage servicer Mr. Cooper with the aim of jointly developing cloud native technology. In that partnership, Mr. Cooper acquired a 20% equity stake in Sagent. Mr. Cooper also became a staging customer for Sagent, with the technology vendor acquiring components of the servicer’s innovations in automation.
“One of the things that you’re going to be hearing from us in 2023 are milestone updates in terms of our progress on that,” Sullivan said in an interview Friday. “What we’re doing is working to build an end to end platform, but in that, also working to build in simplicity, and user configurability.”
Sullivan has served on the boards of several other housing finance and technology companies in addition to Sagent, including PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust, Finicity and Ardley Technologies. She’s been working as an industry consultant since 2017.
While at Fannie, Sullivan worked with underwriting, origination, quality control, servicing, loss mitigation, default and REO. During her time in operations, she was known for playing a key role in working with companies like Finicity on innovations such as Day1 Certainty and Collateral Underwriter. As CRO, she was known for having to reset standards in the wake of the massive underperformance of loans that followed the Great Recession.
“That certainly does accelerate your learning, I’ll leave it at that,” she said of having to manage through the recession’s housing crash
Sullivan said her overall experience has given her “a lot of interesting seats and vantage points” that she’ll be sharing with the team at Sagent.
When asked whether the originations and loan purchases innovations she’s worked with could have some crossover relevance for servicing, Sullivan said, “There’s a lot of applicability of the patterns that were used on the front end that are on the back end in certain areas.”
Other technologies like artificial intelligence also could come into play in her discussions at Sagent, she said, noting that AI has accelerated progress on issues like document data management the industry had been looking to handle through optical character recognition.
However, it’s too early to say whether these technologies will be a focus in her new role at Sagent, Sullivan said, noting that she’ll need to engage in more discussion with her team before she’ll know what her priorities beyond the overarching cloud native project the company will be.
“I learned really early in my career that by listening to others and encouraging them, solutions become exponentially better,” she said.