Freddie Mac, the mortgage finance firm seized by the U.S., said Chief Executive Officer Charles E. Haldeman will leave and named board member Christopher S. Lynch to replace John Koskinen as non-executive chairman.
The changes portend a larger shakeup at Freddie Mac, according to four people with direct knowledge of Freddie Mac’s plans. One other director is leaving, according to a statement today from regulators who oversee the McLean, Virginia-based company, bringing total departures announced in recent days to four of 11 board members. Haldeman will stay until a new CEO is found, according to the statement.
“As an executive, you want to know where you’re heading, and there is only uncertainty now,” said Chris Gamaitoni, a former Fannie Mae financial analyst at Washington-based Compass Point Research and Trading LLC. “This is a further indication that the Obama administration needs to give direction sooner rather than later on how these companies should be reformed.”
Freddie Mac and its sister firm, Fannie Mae, were bailed out by taxpayers during the credit crisis and have drawn more than $170 billion in assistance. Freddie Mac hasn’t posted an annual profit since 2006 and has clashed with the nation’s biggest banks over its demand for billions of dollars in refunds for defective mortgages bought during the housing bubble.
“Ed Haldeman has brought strong leadership to Freddie Mac,” Edward DeMarco, acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which supervises Freddie Mac, said in the statement.
Lynch retired from KPMG LLP as a partner in 2007, according to Freddie Mac’s website. His positions included national partner in charge of financial services, the U.S. firm’s largest industry division, according to Freddie Mac’s biography. Lynch serves on the board of New York-based American International Group Inc., the insurer also bailed out and controlled by the U.S., where he leads the audit committee. He was listed as 53 years old in Freddie Mac’s 10-K report filed last February.
Directors decided against making an exception to allow Koskinen to remain past the mandatory retirement age of 72, said the people, who declined to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly.
Koskinen was named non-executive chairman in September 2008 and served until March 2009, according to Freddie Mac. He then became interim chief executive officer until August 2009, when Haldeman, 62, took over and Koskinen returned to the chairman’s role, according to the company.
Also departing from the board in February is Robert Glauber, who reached the mandatory retirement age, according to the statement. The company said earlier this week that Laurence Hirsch is stepping down from the board. Hirsch, chairman of Highlander Partners LP, a private-equity firm based in Dallas, was leaving “because of increased professional and personal commitments.”
To contact the reporter on this story: James Sterngold in New York at email@example.com