Doug Lebda, the founder of LendingTree, is returning to his roots, so to speak, as the financial services firm is spun off from Barry Tiller’s IAC/InterActive Corp.

Diller announced plans late last year to break up IAC, which included LendingTree and a variety of other ventures. On Monday, Diller said Lebda would run a spun-off group built around LendingTree as chairman and chief executive officer.

The new group also will include RealEstate.com, HomeLoanCenter, GetSmart, Domania and iNest.
"I’m thrilled with this opportunity. We have great brands and a fantastic management team," Lebda said. "There’s no doubt that the company has benefited from the support and stability of IAC during very turbulent mortgage and real estate markets. As a standalone company, we’re now in a great position to grow and expand."
However, Lebda does face challenges. Fallout from the mortgage crisis has hurt LendingTree, which recently laid off scores of workers in Charlotte and reported a loss in the third quarter.

Lebda will continue in his current role as president and chief operating officer at IAC as plans for the spinoff proceed, Diller said. IAC acquired LendingTree in 2003.

IAC plans to break up its conglomerate into several parts that will be owned by IAC shareholders. Other IAC properties include TicketMaster and the HSN home shopping network.

Lebda joined IAC’s top management late in 2005. He launched LendingTree in 1996.

"Doug Lebda is a true entrepreneur. As President and COO of IAC he helped streamline a uniquely complex conglomerate, deepening our talent pool, and successfully managing our various businesses,"Diller said. "With Doug leading the financial services and real estate businesses I am absolutely sure they will grow and prosper. He’s a superb executive and can only do better than well in anything he takes responsibility for."