United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM) has announced the hiring of Blake Kolo as chief business officer and Lee Jelenic as chief innovation officer. Both new to the mortgage industry, Kolo most recently served as a managing director and leadership advisor for the Wilmington, Del.-based The Siegfried Group, a national CPA firm, and Jelenic was most recently chief executive officer of Dearborn, Mich.-based Ford Commercial Solutions, a division of Ford Motor Company.
Kolo and Jelenic will focus mainly on continuous improvement, including product innovation, business growth, and continuing to advance UWM as well as the mortgage broker channel.
“We are ecstatic to add a pair of innovative leaders to our team,” said Mat Ishbia, president and chief executive officer of UWM. “Blake and Lee are exactly the kind of people who will help lead UWM into the future and they are fully committed to helping our mortgage broker partners grow. They are in complete alignment with our company from a leadership vision and culture standpoint.”
In Kolo’s six years at Siegfried, the company’s Detroit office brought in 40-plus new clients, many of which were Fortune 500 companies. He also quadrupled the size of the firm’s Detroit office to nearly 40 employees, while being promoted to managing director in under three years, one of the quickest appointments to that position in company history.
“Joining a dynamic company like UWM is a unique opportunity,” Kolo said. “Seeing how they’ve elevated their business to become a top mortgage lender has been impressive to say the least. The atmosphere at UWM is unlike anything I’ve been around before. I’m excited to be part of a great team that is so driven to succeed and is constantly finding new ways to raise the bar in the mortgage lending industry.”
Jelenic spent 11 years at Ford Motor Company, also serving as vice president of marketing at the Ford Motor Credit Company, where he led global marketing, as well as fintech and new business development. Jelenic also led various acquisition and strategic investments at Ford Credit. Previously, he spent four years in capital markets at JP Morgan.
“To see what UWM has done over the last few years has been remarkable. By positioning itself as the mortgage industry’s technology leader, UWM is providing brokers with the resources they need to continue to grow market share,” Jelenic said. “I’m thrilled to join a company that has experienced a meteoric rise to become one of the nation’s top lenders and I can’t wait to help UWM and mortgage brokers climb even higher for many years to come.”