McLean, Va. By last fall, the heady days for mortgage giant Freddie Mac were over, and what was left for executives like David Kellermann were stressful days and long nights of picking up the pieces under the sharp scrutiny of regulators.
After taking the role of acting chief financial officer when the government seized control of the company in September, Kellermann worked for several weeks alongside federal regulators known as “shadows,” who stood by executives’ sides at all times, questioning their calls and turning them over for government approval.
Lately, the pressure seemed to be taking its toll. Neighbors said he’d lost weight. They began to suggest he should quit.
Kellermann, 41, was found dead in his basement this week in an apparent suicide, only a day after speaking to a human resource officer at the company and arranging to take time off because he’d been working such long hours. After seven months of trying to help the company emerge from financial disaster, some close to him wonder if it was just too much for Kellermann to try to pick up the pieces.
“If there was a reason it had to be the stress, the mounting stress and pressure of a company ... he worked so hard to help and resurrect and make good,” said David Gorder, a movie producer living in Hollywood Hills, Calif., who was a fraternity brother of Kellermann’s when they studied together at the University of Michigan. “Maybe he kept it inside too much.”