- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 7, 2003


Freddie Mac yesterday named business executive Richard F. Syron, the former American Stock Exchange chief with a long career in government, as its new chairman and chief executive.

He succeeds Gregory Parseghian, who was ousted in August after being implicated in accounting irregularities at the mortgage lender.

McLean-based Freddie Mac is the second-largest U.S. buyer of home mortgages, a publicly traded corporation with $40 billion revenue a year. It has ousted two chief executives since its accounting troubles became known in early June and is under criminal investigation by the Justice Department and is undergoing a civil inquiry by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Mr. Syron, 60, is executive chairman of Thermo Electron Corp., a Waltham, Mass.-based maker of scientific and other laboratory equipment. He previously served as the company’s chairman and chief executive officer.

Before that, he served for five years as chairman and CEO of the American Stock Exchange and, from 1989 to 1994, was president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

Mr. Syron also served as assistant to Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker and as deputy assistant secretary of the Treasury Department.

“Freddie Mac is a great company with an important public mission to help make homeownership more affordable for America’s families,” Mr. Syron said in a statement announcing his position. “I am a strong believer in that mission.”

Freddie Mac’s current chairman, Shaun O’Malley, will become lead director on the company’s board.

Mr. Parseghian played a role in some of the questionable transactions that have brought regulators’ scrutiny. The company has disclosed that accounting errors and manipulations of internal accounts had resulted in misreported earnings by $1.5 billion to $4.5 billion in the 2000-02 period.

Last month, Freddie Mac further roiled investors and lawmakers when it revealed it had overstated its 2001 income by nearly $1 billion.

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were created by Congress to pump money into the home-mortgage market by buying home loans from banks and other lenders and bundling them into securities for sale on Wall Street.

They have grown explosively in recent years.

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