January 10, 2012 / 10:28 PM / 8 years ago

Fannie Mae CEO to leave after successor chosen

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Government-controlled mortgage giant Fannie Mae, which is at the center of a fight over housing policy, said on Tuesday Chief Executive Michael Williams was stepping down.

Williams will depart after a successor is chosen to lead the company out of the grips of government control.

William, who began at the company in 1991, was appointed CEO in 2009 after Fannie Mae and its sister company, Freddie Mac FMCC.OB, were seized by the U.S. government at the height of the financial crisis.

“I decided the time is right to turn over the reins to a new leader,” Williams said in a statement.

The Federal Reserve has recommended giving Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac an expanded role to help revive the downtrodden housing market, saying their regulator may be taking too narrow a view of the public good.

Williams and the head of Freddie Mac have faced increasing pressure from Congress to rein in executive compensation at their companies, which have been propped up by about $169 billion in taxpayer funds.

But Williams and his counterpart at Freddie Mac said the hefty pay packages were needed to attract and retain staff at the money-losing firms.

Williams, who worked his way up the ranks from the head of eCommerce division to chief operating officer, helped reform the company’s control standards after an accounting and financial restatement scandal.

The company did not provide details on when Williams’ successor would be named.

Reporting By Rachelle Younglai; Editing by Kenneth Barry

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