Former FDIC chair to take reins at Fannie Mae

by Ryan Smith05 Nov 2020

Former FDIC Chair Sheila Bair will succeed Jonathan Plutzik as the chair of Fannie Mae’s board of directors, the GSE has announced. The board unanimously passed a resolution appointing Bair to the role on Oct. 28. She will begin her tenure as board chair Nov. 20. Plutzik will remain on the board after stepping down as chair.

“Sheila’s deep well of experience will provide strong leadership as Fannie Mae works with the Federal Housing Finance Agency to exit conservatorship while simultaneously fulfilling our mission to provide access to safe, affordable mortgage financing,” Plutzik said in a statement.

Plutzik joined Fannie Mae’s board during the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. He served on the Risk Policy and Capital Committee, the Strategic Initiatives and Technology Committee, and the Compensation Committee and served as vice chair of the board prior to being named chair in 2018. He “played an integral role” in the GSE’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and helped it meet “important milestones” on its path to exit conservatorship, said Fannie Mae CEO Hugh Frater.

“I note with pride the progress Fannie has made in all aspects of its operations since the last financial crisis and commend my fellow directors and [FHFA] Director [Mark] Calabria for their unwavering commitment to making Fannie Mae a truly outstanding housing finance company,” he said.

Bair joined the Fannie Mae board in August 2019. During her tenure on the board, she has served on the Community Responsibility & Sustainability Committee, the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee, and the Risk Policy and Capital Committee.

“Sheila is the perfect person to lead the board and help guide the company as we continue to transition out of government control,” Frater said. “She will help chart a course forward for the company while making sure we never forget our mission to support mortgage financing in a safe and sound manner.”

Bair is a former chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. She has also served as the president of Washington College, a senior advisor to the Pew Charitable Trusts and DLA Piper, and the dean’s professor of financial regulatory policy for the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She was an assistant secretary for financial institutions at the Department of the Treasury, a senior vice president for government regulations at the New York Stock Exchange, commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, counsel to the New York Stock Exchange, and counsel to Sen. Bob Dole.