president and chief operating officer of Fannie Mae, has seized an opportunity to pursue a lifelong interest in culture -- and get paid for it -- as secretary of the Smithsonian Institution.

Mr. Small is making the move from one elite organization chartered by the government to foster homeownership to another elite organization, created in 1847 with funds bequeathed for "an independent trust instrumentality of the United States." After 36 years in the corporate world, Mr. Small will become only the 11th secretary to lead the Smithsonian Institution.

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