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Syron Steps In

Syron Steps InWith a reputation as a veteran ‘Mr. Fix-it’ for companies looking to improve their stock, Tufts graduate Richard Syron was recently named CEO of Freddie Mac. Medford/Somerville, Mass.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [01.02.04] Freddie Mac is the second largest source of U.S. mortgage financing in the United States. So when the company's stock began to sag, its board turned to a CEO with proven results in cutting waste, improving investor confidence and turning a company around -- Tufts graduate Richard Syron.

"The board wanted to increase shareholder value, and we all felt that Syron was ideal because he knew the company, the people and he's a terrific economist," John Hatsophoulos, chief financial officer of the company, told Bloomberg. "Freddie Mac couldn't have chosen a better man."

Syron, the former head of the American Stock Exchange, has a track record for stepping in to give a company a much-needed investor confidence boost. In June of 1999, the Tufts graduate was appointed chairman of Thermo Electron, maker of analytical instruments for medical laboratories. In the time since then, the company's shares have risen 45 percent.

"Syron went in to Thermo Electron to fix them up and really streamlined the operation," Michael A. Mullaney - who oversees Freddie Mac stocks among the $10 billion he manages at Boston's Fiduciary Trust Co. - told Bloomberg.

Graduating with a Ph. D. in economics from Tufts, the Boston native was deputy assistant Treasury secretary in the Carter administration.

"Syron is just what Freddie needs, to not only deal with mistakes they made and some of the cuteness that was going on, but at the same time he is a guy who motivated to carry out the housing mission," Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank - senior Democrat on the House Financial Serviced Committee which oversees the company - told Bloomberg.

A government-chartered company, Freddie Mac has seen shares fall amid concerns of financial problems, including $787 billion in debt. According to Bloomberg, finding a fresh head is critical to restoring confidence in the company.

Freddie Mac is getting "a bright guy who understands economics and money markets," Jack Connors, who worked with Syron on the boards of John Hancock Insurance and Boston College, told USA Today.

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