Who Was Herbert M. Allison, Jr.?

Herbert M. Allison, Jr. was in charge of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) from 2009 to 2010. He was named CEO of Fannie Mae in 2008 when the company went into conservatorship. Before Fannie Mae, he was the CEO of TIAA-CREF from 2002 to 2008. Allison, Jr. began his career with Merrill Lynch and worked there for 28 years. He passed away at his home in Westport, Conn., in 2013 at the age of 69.

Herbert M. Allison, Jr.’s Early Life

Allison was previously a director at Time Warner, Merrill Lynch, Financial Engines, the NASDAQ, the New York Stock Exchange, and several other companies. He was born in Pittsburgh in 1943, and after graduating from Yale University in 1965 he spent four years in Vietnam as a member of the U.S. Navy. Afterward, he earned an MBA from Stanford University in 1971.

Key Takeaways

  • Herbert M. Allison, Jr. ran the TARP program from 2009 to 2010, which he credited with saving the economy.
  • Allison spent nearly three decades with Merrill Lynch, where we held such positions as CFO and COO.
  • He also became the CEO of Fannie Mae in 2008 when it went into conservatorship.
  • Allison passed away in 2013 at the age of 69.

Allison worked for Merrill Lynch as an investment banking associate and then held various high-level positions with the bank, including chief financial officer and chief operating officer. While at Merrill Lynch, Allison headed up the effort to bail out Long Term Capital Management, the hedge fund that imploded in 1998. After leaving Merrill Lynch in 1999, he served as John McCain’s National Finance Chair. Later, he went to work as CEO of TIAA-CREF before retiring in 2008.

Herbert M. Allison, Jr. and TARP

After Allison retired from TIAA-CREF in 2008, he was reportedly on vacation when he got the call from then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson to come to Washington D.C. From there he took over as CEO of the distressed mortgage lender Fannie Mae. He famously only took a dollar per years as a salary.

Herbert M. Allison, Jr. had a long history of dealing with some of the finance industry’s biggest crises, including LTCM, the financial crisis and TARP, and Fannie Mae.

Allison took over oversight of the TARP program in 2009 when he became the senior Treasury official in charge of the Office of Financial Stability. Allison stepped down from that position in 2010, noting that TARP helped save the economy.

$426.4 billion

Amount of funds invested as part of the TARP program. Over $441 billion was recovered from the TARP assets.

In 2011, he worked for President Obama assessing federal loans to energy companies. Allison also wrote the e-book “The Megabanks Mess,” and called for a controversial breakup of the industry’s biggest banks.