A Shakeup at Fannie Mae

Fannie Mae (FNM) on Wednesday shook up its top-level management in an effort to underscore its intentions to manage through the current credit cycle, jettisoning three key executives in a revamping of the company’s executive team clearly designed to help bolster investor confidence. Robert Levin, a long-time Fannie Mae exec and chief business officer, will step down from his current role, as will two other execs: Stephen Swad, chief financial officer, and Enrico Dallavecchia, chief risk officer. That’s a lot of C-level positions to swap out, but Fannie CEO Daniel Mudd seems intent on sending a strong signal to jittery markets. “After setting forth our capital and credit plan August 8, we are now putting a senior management structure in place to drive this plan across the company,” Mudd said. “As we move through the bottom of this cycle, maintaining capital, managing credit and driving revenues are the priorities — and we have to organize and staff accordingly.” The moves come as Fannie’s stock has literally been obliterated this year; company shares are down 90 percent from one year ago, even with the recent two-day rally that saw shares close up 15.3 percent on Wednesday at $6.48. Company insider Peter Niculescu will assume Levin’s role as CBO; he has been executive vice president and head of the capital markets business at Fannie Mae since 1999, but has strong credibility in the secondary market according to various HW sources. Mudd said Niculescu’s background in capital markets will prove critical to the company’s plans for its single-family mortgage portfolio going forward. Senior vice president and controller David Hisey will assume CFO duties; credit risk SVP Michael Shaw will move into Dallavecchia’s spot as CRO, Fannie said in a press statement. Senior vice president and treasurer David Benson was also promoted to EVP, where he’ll lead the company’s capital markets operations. Benson has been at Fannie since 2002, and was previously a managing director for the fixed income division at Merrill Lynch & Co. (MER). While Levin plans to retire after 27 years with the company, Fannie said that Dallavecchia will search for another role in risk management while Swad will look to move into private equity. Disclosure: The author held no relevant positions when this story was published; indirect holdings may exist via mutual fund investments. HW reporters and writers follow a strict disclosure policy, the first in the mortgage trade.

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