By CorpGov Editorial Staff
Homebuilder PulteGroup, Inc. (NYSE:PHM) said it fired incoming Chief Operating Officer Brandon Jones just days before he was to assume the role, apparently as a result of a lawsuit against him filed Wednesday alleging he used Twitter bots to stalk, harass and defame the company’s late founder William J. Pulte and his grandson Bill Pulte.
“Mr. Jones’ departure follows an independent investigation that determined he had violated the Company’s Code of Ethical Business Conduct,” PulteGroup said in a statement Friday morning.
Bill Pulte, who was formerly an independent director of the company, said the family filed Wednesday’s suit in order to “protect the legacy of Pulte Homes, my grandfather who was my mentor and partner, as well as my own reputation and to prevent Jones from doing irreparable harm through his continued spreading of vicious lies.”
The lawsuit comes after years of tension between the Pulte family and Mr. Jones. Bill Pulte led the opposition to an expedited promotion of Mr. Jones in late 2018, successfully securing unanimous board approval against CEO Ryan Marshall’s request.
Mr. Jones was named Chief Operating Officer of PulteGroup in October and was expected to begin in the role formally on Jan. 1, 2023.
Mr. Jones had served as Senior Vice President – Field Operations until his dismissal.