New Chairmen For Fannie, Freddie
By Zachary A. Goldfarb
The government Tuesday appointed the former chief executive of one of the nation's largest accounting firms to chair the board of Fannie Mae and a turnaround specialist and former deputy mayor of the District to chair the board of Freddie Mac.
The government removed the chief executives and chairmen of the mortgage giants on Sept. 7 when the Feds seized control of them.
The newly created Federal Housing Finance Agency named John A. Koskinen to serve as the non-executive chairman of Freddie Mac. Philip A. Laskawy will serve as the non-executive chairman of Fannie Mae.
Koskinen mostly recently served as president of the United States Soccer Foundation. Prior to that, he was deputy mayor and city administrator of the District of Columbia, where he was responsible for the operation of all city departments. He was appointed to the job by former mayor Anthony A. Williams.
Koskinen served as deputy director for management at federal Office of Management and Budget in the mid-1990s, nominated by Bill Clinton. Before that, he was president and chief executive at the financial services firm Palmieri Co., where he participated in the restructuring and turnarounds of many companies including the Penn Central Transportation Company and Mutual Benefit, the largest insurance company in history to fail.
He currently serves on the Boards of the AES Corporation and American Capital, Ltd.
Philp Laskawy served as chairman and CEO of Ernst & Young from 1994 until September 2001. In 2006-2007, he served as chairman of the International Accounting Standards Committee Foundation, which sets accounting standards in more than 100 countries.
[Staff writer David S. Hilzenrath notes that the accounting industry long resisted the idea that auditors should be responsible for exposing fraud, and he recalled this quote from Laskawy about how he viewed the financial watchdog role of outside auditors in the mid-1990s.
"We don't want to be in the business of being fraud detectors," Philip Laskawy told The Washington Post at the time. "What we would like to believe . . . is that you're dealing with honest and reliable people."]
Laskawy currently serves on the boards of directors of General Motors Corp., Henry Schein, Inc, Lazard Ltd., and Lowes Corp.
"Both of these individuals have the types of skills and experience needed to ensure a healthy financial future for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac," FHFA Director James B. Lockhart. said in a statement.
On Sept. 7, Lockhart named Herbert Allison, a former vice chairman of Merrill Lynch, chief executive Fannie Mae, and David Moffett, a former chief financial officer of U.S. Bancorp, to lead Freddie Mac.
Former Freddie Mac chief executive Richard Syron also was chairman of the company's board, a dual-title that the government had pressed him to abandon. Former Fannie Mae chief executive Daniel Mudd gave up the chairman title to Stephen B. Ashley.
September 16, 2008; 12:12 PM ET
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