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Freddie Mac: Tone Deaf at the Top by William Black

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Jefferson23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 07:08 PM
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Freddie Mac: Tone Deaf at the Top by William Black
Freddie Mac made a terse announcement Wednesday in a securities filing about the resignation of its chief operating officer, Bruce Witherell. Freddie said that Witherell resigned "for personal reasons." His departure was effective immediately and he received no termination benefits. He had been receiving several millions of dollars in annual compensation from Freddie. The Wall Street Journal reporter commented:

Efforts to attract and retain top managers at Freddie and its larger sibling, Fannie Mae, have been stymied by salary restrictions that are modest relative to comparable to private sector pay and by the fact that the firm's federal overseers have effective veto rights over major decisions.
It is true that pay at Fannie and Freddie used to be even more criminogenic. According to the Los Angeles Times:

In 2007, then-Freddie Mac CEO Richard F. Syron had a base salary of $1.2 million and total compensation of $18.3 million, according to SEC filings. In the same year, Daniel Mudd, the chief executive of Fannie Mae, had a base salary of $987,000 and total compensation of $11.7 million.
Those were the days, when you could in a single year be made wealthy for destroying a company and causing scores of billions of dollars of losses to the taxpayers. The title of Akerlof & Romer's famous 1993 article has never looked more prescient -- "Looting: the Economic Underworld of Bankruptcy for Profit."

I do not know why Witherell resigned. I hope he is not facing a family emergency. I write to ask why he was hired. Witherell's principal experience was with Lehman. In particular, he was chief executive officer of Aurora Loan Services from 2003 to 2006. Lehman owned Aurora. Aurora specialized in purchasing and reselling "liar's" loans.

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