SoFi was sued last month by a former employee who argued that sexual misconduct at the company had created a toxic work environment and that he had been fired for reporting sexual harassment to managers. SoFi disputed the accusations, but said it would investigate them.
Mr. Cagney said in the letter he sent to SoFi employees on Monday that “the combination of HR-related litigation and negative press have become a distraction from the company’s core mission.”
On Tuesday, The New York Times published an article examining Mr. Cagney’s stewardship of SoFi. The article included accusations from more than 30 current and former employees, who said he had treated women inappropriately and had aggressively taken on risk to accelerate the company’s growth.
The article included details of a $75,000 settlement that SoFi reached with a former executive assistant at the company, Laura Munoz, who some people said had received sexually explicit text messages from Mr. Cagney. He was also seen holding hands and talking intimately with another female employee, which made employees uncomfortable.
In addition, the article reported on a SoFi loan product that was sold to investors without being properly funded. The product was ultimately phased out, with investors being offered their money back or an opportunity to invest in a new product. They were not told about the funding shortfall.
A SoFi spokesman told The Times for the article that the company had not taken on too much risk and that the board had investigated the dispute with Ms. Munoz in 2012 and had found no evidence of a romantic or sexual relationship. He declined to comment on other personal relationships involving Mr. Cagney and other employees, saying the company did not comment on personnel matters. The spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for additional comment on Friday.
With Mr. Cagney’s abrupt departure, SoFi joins the ranks of technology start-ups that have had to contend with serious issues related to workplace culture. Other companies in that category include the blood testing start-up Theranos, the insurance start-up Zenefits and, perhaps most prominently, the ride-hailing company Uber, whose chief executive, Travis Kalanick, stepped down amid a spate of scandals.
Like some of those companies, SoFi continues to grow quickly. The company said in a statement on Monday that it had funded $3.1 billion in loans in the second quarter of 2017, generating more than $134 million in revenue. It said it had lent more than $20 billion to more than 350,000 borrowers over the course of its history.
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