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MCLEAN, VA-Freddie Mac has tapped Ross Kari to be CFO of the GSE, filling a vacancy left by David Kellermann, who was found dead in his home earlier this year. Kari, needless to say, will be taking control of Freddie Mac’s finances at a pivotal time for the agency. It is currently struggling with mounting losses, a year-long government conservatorship and growing doubt as to its long-term sustainability. Freddie Mac did not return a call to GlobeSt.com in time for publication.

For the past year, Kari has been CFO of Fifth Third Bancorp in Cincinnati. Prior to that, he was EVP and CFO of Safeco Corp. The bulk of Kari’s career was spent at Wells Fargo from 1983 to 2001. At Freddie Mac, his responsibilities will include financial controls, accounting, investor relations, financial planning and reporting, tax, capital oversight and compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley. He’ll report to CEO Charles Haldeman Jr.

Unofficially, he’ll no doubt also serve as one of the chief spokespeople for the agency when its fate comes under deliberation–a day of reckoning that is coming closer. There have been growing calls for a realignment of the GSEs–with one creditable proposal put forth from the Mortgage Bankers Assoc. earlier this month–as well as internal deliberations from the Obama Administration, according to press rumors. Recently the Government Accountability Office released a report evaluating the various paths the GSEs could take. These choices include reconstituting the enterprises as for-profit corporations with government sponsorship; privatization; and establishing them fully as government corporations or agencies.

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