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Goldfarb and Mummolo write for the Washington Post.

David B. Kellermann, the Freddie Mac executive who was found dead Wednesday in what appeared to be a suicide, discussed taking time off with the company’s human relations department Tuesday, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Kellermann, a longtime employee of the troubled mortgage giant who had been acting chief financial officer since a government takeover in September, told officials that he was feeling stressed and working long hours, and that he needed to take a break, the person said.

Freddie Mac assured Kellermann he could take a week off, effective immediately, and his subordinates could run the finance operation without interruption. On Tuesday night, Kellermann apparently decided to take the vacation and delegated responsibilities to two senior members of his staff, the person said.


Kellermann, 41, was found by his wife, Donna, before dawn in the basement of his Fairfax County home, law enforcement sources said.

He had hanged himself on a piece of exercise equipment, the sources said. There were no signs of foul play and no note. His body was taken to the office of the medical examiner, who will rule on the cause of death. His motivations are not known.

But even if his final act was unrelated to work, Kellermann’s last months were consumed by the mounting stresses at the center of the financial crisis. People who knew him said he was deeply committed to Freddie Mac, and its struggles had taken an increasingly visible toll.