WASHINGTON — Michael Williams, the president and chief executive officer of Fannie Mae, announced plans to step down as soon as a successor can be appointed, according to a company filing issued Tuesday to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Williams has served in that role since April 2009 and was previously Fannie's executive vice president and chief operating officer from November 2005 to April 2009.
He has held various positions throughout the government-sponsored enterprise since he joined the company in 1991. Fannie, along with Freddie Mac, were taken into conservatorship in September 2008.
Last October, Freddie's CEO Charles Haldeman announced his plans to step down sometime this year. He was the second CEO to resign from the mortgage company since 2008.
The loss of senior executive talent has been a major concern for Edward DeMarco, acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which is in charge of overseeing both companies.
"The more time we spend needing to go out and recruit new talent to fill the voids, that's effort not being spent on foreclosure prevention, servicing the market today and building for the market of tomorrow," said DeMarco in a recent interview with American Banker.
DeMarco has been under fire by Congress for signing off on multimillion-dollar executive compensation packages. While the agency has taken steps to reduce compensation, DeMarco has defended his decision, saying that it's necessary to pay executives well enough to stay on through a period of sustained uncertainty.
In a press release, DeMarco expressed gratitude for Williams' years of service at the GSE.
"Mr. Williams' leadership was instrumental in guiding Fannie Mae through the transition into conservatorship and in directing Fannie Mae's efforts to enhance loss mitigation strategies, including loan modification and refinance options to help struggling homeowners," DeMarco said.