VIENNA, Va. – Freddie Mac’s acting chief financial officer had met with the mortgage giant’s human resources office and had been making plans to take time off only a day before authorities found him dead in an apparent suicide, a person close to the company said Thursday.
A human resources official met with David Kellermann on Tuesday and told him he needed a break because he had been working hard, said the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the individual wasn’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
Kellermann, 41, of Vienna, was found dead Wednesday in the basement of his home. A law enforcement official also speaking on condition of anonymity told The Associated Press that Kellermann hanged himself. He asked not to be identified because the investigation was ongoing.
Kellermann worked for the company for 16 years and was promoted last September when the government seized the mortgage company and ousted its top two executives. He oversaw a staff of about 500 at Freddie Mac’s McLean headquarters and was working on the company’s first-quarter financial report, due by the end of May.
Co-workers were not the only ones who had noticed the strain placed on Kellermann by his job duties. Several neighbours said Kellermann had lost weight in recent months, and some had even advised him to quit, but Kellermann responded that he wanted to help the company through its difficulties.
The meeting with the human resources office was first reported Thursday on the Wall Street Journal’s website.
Freddie Mac, which owns or guarantees about 13 million mortgages, has been criticized for financing risky loans that fuelled the real estate bubble and are now defaulting at a record pace. The company lost more than US$50 billion last year, and the Treasury Department has pumped in $45 billion to keep the company afloat. Last month, David Moffett, the government-appointed chief executive, resigned in frustration over strict oversight.
Medical examiners have completed Kellermann’s autopsy but say a final determination on his cause of death could be weeks away.
Nancy Bull, the regional administrator for the medical examiner’s office, said Thursday the final determination won’t be made until all the lab results are received. But she said the preliminary findings are consistent with a suicide.