The President and Chief Executive Officer of Fannie Mae, Michael J. Williams has announced his intention to resign. Williams, who has held the dual position since 2009 said late Tuesday that he will continue as CEO and as a director until a successor is named and then will leave the company.
Williams joined Fannie Mae in 1991, serving as head of the company's eCommerce and eBusiness divisions where he oversaw the development of the Desktop Underwriter product, a standard for the housing finance industry. He was appointed chief operating officer in 2005 and assumed the helm of the company the year after it was placed into federal conservatorship. During his career he also held positions with DuPont and KPMG Peat Marwick.
In his announcement Williams said, "As CEO, I have focused the company on providing the necessary funding to support sustainable homeownership and quality affordable housing; creating the solutions needed to stabilize the market and help homeowners in distress; and building a strong new leadership team that can move the company and the industry forward. For the past three years, we have executed on this important mission, while making fundamental changes to prepare housing finance for a better future. I decided the time is right to turn over the reins to a new leader. As I told our employees today, I am extremely proud of what we have achieved together, and I am confident that they will continue to make a positive difference."
The Edward J. DeMarco, Acting Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency which acts as conservator of Fannie Mae said that FHFA will work with the Fannie Mae board of directors to search for a new CEO and expressed gratitude for Williams "steadfast dedication to ensuring Fannie Mae meets its public mission of providing stability, liquidity, and affordability to housing finance while both leading his company and working with government officials to the end."
While there was no indication that it was related to Williams's resignation, the two GSEs have recently come under criticism from members of Congress over the level of compensation paid to top executives. In November the House Financial Services Committee voted to send HR1221 to the full house for consideration. If passed, the legislation will suspend the current compensation packages at both companies. According to information released by FHFA at that time, the CEO of Fannie Mae was paid $5.6 million in compensation in 2011.