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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Freddie Mac Names New Finance Chief

Mortgage finance giant Freddie Mac, which is still trying to fix its financial systems more than three years after disclosing billions of dollars of accounting errors, yesterday announced that it hired a finance executive from a health-care company to help lead the effort.

Anthony S. "Buddy" Piszel, 51, chief financial officer of Health Net Inc., will assume that role at Freddie Mac next month. He will replace Martin F. Baumann, who left Freddie Mac in March. Freddie's president and chief operating officer, Eugene M. McQuade, has been doing the finance job since Baumann resigned.

Before joining the California managed-care company in 2004, Piszel spent more than a decade at Prudential Financial Inc. Earlier in his career, he was an auditor with the accounting firm Deloitte & Touche and a fellow at the Financial Accounting Standards Board, which makes accounting rules.

Freddie Mac remains unable to perform one of the basic functions of a public company: reporting quarterly financial results on a timely basis. It plans to get back on track next year, spokesman Michael Cosgrove said. The McLean company has said its internal controls have significant weaknesses.

Because Freddie Mac was chartered by the government, it was not required to comply with many of the SEC regulations that govern other publicly traded companies. However, before the accounting scandal derailed its efforts, the company had pledged to submit to those requirements.

Baumann, who joined Freddie Mac in 2003 and was soon promoted to chief financial officer, was an expert in accounting policies, Cosgrove said. Having corrected past financial results, Freddie Mac needed a chief financial officer with extensive experience dealing with controls and technology, Cosgrove said.

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