Fannie Mae Chair Bair, CEO Frater to leave May 1

A pair of key figures at Fannie Mae are leaving the company, as Chairwoman Sheila Bair is resigning as of May 1, and CEO Hugh Frater is retiring.

Replacing Bair is former Wells Fargo executive Michael Heid. He was executive vice president of home lending at the parent company from 1997 until his retirement in January 2016 and concurrently served in a number of positions at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, including as president from 2011 to September 2015 and as co-president from 2004 to 2011. Earlier, he held roles as chief financial officer and head of loan servicing.

David Benson, currently Fannie Mae’s president, is adding the interim CEO title, as the government-sponsored enterprise conducts a search for a new leader to lead the company on a full-time basis. He will also take over on May 1, as well as join the Fannie Mae board.

“When I became CEO in 2019, I committed to the board I would remain for three years, and it has been the privilege of a lifetime to lead this organization,” Frater said in a press release. “Given the strides we have made on so many fronts, this is the right time to transition to a new CEO.”

Frater replaced Timothy Mayopoulos, first on an interim basis, and then in March 2019, took on the job full-time. Benson became president around the same time Mayopoulos announced his plans to leave Fannie Mae.

Bair, the former chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., joined the Fannie Mae board in August 2019. She was named chair in November 2020.

“I’ve been privileged to serve this institution and its dedicated employees as we have remained relentlessly focused on the needs of homeowners and renters through a pandemic, tumultuous market condition and a transition in administrations,” said Bair. “Unfortunately, I have found it difficult to meet the substantial time demands of this position while fulfilling my other board and advisory responsibilities.”

Antony Jenkins is also resigning from Fannie Mae’s board effective May 1, citing time commitments as the reason.