The general counsel at Fannie Mae has surfaced as the leading internal candidate to take over as chief executive of the mortgage giant, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.

Timothy Mayopoulos joined Fannie in 2009 after his ouster from the same position at Bank of America (BAC) a year earlier. Nick Timiraos and Joan S. Lublin write that the search to replace CEO Michael Williams is in its early stages, and recruiters do not yet have a short list of outside candidates.

Williams said in January he would step down by the end of this year.

Read more at The Wall Street Journal.