Report: Freddie Mac Eyes Former E*Trade CEO

Former E*Trade Financial (NASDAQ:ETFC) CEO Donald Layton has reportedly raced to the top of the short list for the new CEO of mortgage giant Freddie Mac.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Layton is one of three finalists for the top job and met with the government-controlled institution and met with its regulator last month.

Layton has a history of guiding struggling entities as he became an outside director of government-owned American International Group (NYSE:AIG) two years ago.

Layton stepped down from online brokerage E*Trade in 2009 after more than a year as CEO and serving a stint as chairman. Prior to that, Layton worked for many years at JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM).

Besides Layton, Freddie Mac is also reviewing the resume of Shekar Narasimhan, managing partner at housing-finance advisory firm Beekman Advisors, the Journal reported.

No matter who Freddie chooses as its next CEO, he or she will have to deal with the organization’s uncertain future as well as very close oversight from regulators and lawmakers.

Freddie Mac and its troubled sister entity Fannie Mae were brought under U.S. control in 2008 as the housing crisis imploded. Since then, the mortgage giants have been surviving on some $151 billion in taxpayer cash to keep them afloat.

Washington has yet to decide what to do with Fannie and Freddie in the future and the topic has become a source of serious political tension.

Current Freddie CEO Charles Haldeman Jr., who took the top job in 2009, has said he plans to exit at some point in 2012.

While no final decision or job offer has been made at Freddie Mac, a decision will likely be made on the CEO vacancy in the next week, the Journal reported.