MINNEAPOLIS: James A. Johnson, a former Democratic marketing campaign operative who was CEO of housing lender Fannie Mae within the 1990s and served as chairman of Walter Mondale’s presidential bid, died Sunday at his residence in Washington. He was 76.
Johnson’s son, Alfred, confirmed that his father had died, telling The Washington Publish and Wall Road Journal that the trigger was problems from a neurological situation.
A local of Benson, Minnesota, and the son of a distinguished state lawmaker, Johnson had a political, cultural and enterprise resume that prompted Harold M. Ickes, President Invoice Clintons deputy chief of employees, to dub him the chairman of the universe. Johnson chaired the John F. Kennedy Middle for the Performing Arts, the Brookings Establishment suppose tank and Fannie Mae all on the similar time.
Apart from working Mondale’s failed run for the White Home in opposition to Ronald Reagan in 1984, Johnson was a key participant within the presidential campaigns of Eugene McCarthy, Edmund Muskie and George McGovern.
He turned his political savvy into enterprise success. David O. Maxwell, former head of Fannie Mae, employed Johnson as vice chairman in 1990, after Johnson had helped the corporate maintain off privatization efforts by the Reagan administration. Johnson was promoted to chairman and CEO the following yr.
Johnson instantly set his sights on sustaining Fannie Maes profitable authorities privileges and making certain that new laws weren’t overly burdensome. Johnson and his lobbyists helped style a 1992 legislation signed by President George H.W. Bush that aimed to scale back the possibility of an costly taxpayer bailout if Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had dangerous loans on their books.
It additionally opened up a brand new period of residence possession for households who have been beforehand unable to get mortgage loans.
After retiring from Fannie Mae on the finish of 1998, Johnson served on the boards of a number of corporations, together with UnitedHealth Group, KB Dwelling and Goal, and was vice chairman of the Washington private-equity agency Perseus. He had chaired the advisory council of the Stanford Middle on Longevity since 2011.
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