Meet Fannie Mae GC Beth Ann Wilkinson
A former colleague says the general counsel of Fannie Mae is well-suited to help restore confidence at the mortgage giant taken over by the federal government last weekend, if she remains in the job.
Beth Ann Wilkinson, who was a partner at Latham & Watkins when she left to join Fannie Mae in 2006, has litigation experience and savvy, says Leslie Caldwell, a partner at Morgan Lewis who worked as a federal prosecutor with Wilkinson in Brooklyn in the 1990s.
“She is one of the few people who has got the whole package,” Caldwell told Portfolio.com. “She’s polished, she’s smooth, very smart. She’s self-deprecating but very confident. … She conveys a real safe-hand persona.”
Wilkinson’s first job out of law school at the University of Virginia was in the office of the Army’s general counsel, where she helped prosecute a Colombian drug lord for bombing an airplane, the Portfolio story says. Later she worked in the Justice Department’s Terrorism and Violent Crime Section and helped prosecute Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.
At Latham she successfully represented cigarette maker Philip Morris in a product-liability case. She was co-chair of the law firm’s white-collar and government investigations practice.
When Wilkinson joined Fannie Mae in 2006, she knew little about mortgage-backed securities, the story recounts. “I think they were looking for someone who was willing to exercise their judgment and have a good relationship with the regulators,” Wilkinson said at the time. “And hopefully have a little more humble attitude about the company and its place.”