Freddie Mac CEO Out Amid Growing Scrutiny

Freddie Mac CEO Charles E. Haldeman Jr. is stepping down after two years at his post, in a series of exits that “portend a larger shakeup at Freddie Mac.”

In the past few days four of 11 board members have left the company, and Haldeman is the second CEO to step down at Freddie Mac since a 2008 government takeover of the company, described as “one of the most sweeping government interventions in private financial markets in decades.”

Former Fannie Mae financial analyst Chris Gamaitoni, now at Compass Point Research and Trading in Washington DC, said lack of direction from the government is behind Haldeman’s exit:

“As an executive, you want to know where you’re heading, and there is only uncertainty now. This is a further indication that the Obama administration needs to give direction sooner rather than later on how these companies should be reformed.”

Haldeman will stay on as CEO until a new appointment is made, and Edward DeMarco, acting director of the FHFA, commented:

“Ed Haldeman has brought strong leadership to Freddie Mac. I appreciate his commitment to leadership stability during the upcoming transition.”

The Wall Street Journal highlights some of the problems that have led to continued criticism of the mortgage company back by Uncle Sam’s dough:

Freddie Mac has taken nearly $52 billion in government aid to stay afloat, though for the past four quarters it has returned more money to the Treasury than it has taken. Fannie has cost taxpayers $89 billion. The firms own or guarantee nearly half of all U.S. home loans outstanding.

In a voicemail to Freddie Mac employees, Haldeman called the transition “bittersweet.”