Farmer Mac fires CEO for violating company policies

Farmer Mac fires CEO for violating company policies

Farmer Mac has terminated President and CEO Timothy Buzby for violating company policies not related to its financial and business performance.

A company press release, as well as a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, did not provide any specifics on what policies Buzby allegedly violated.

“As a result of the termination, Mr. Buzby’s unvested restricted stock and all unexercised vested and unvested stock appreciation rights were forfeited, and he is not entitled to any severance payments,” the filing said.

Farmer Mac terminated President and CEO Timothy Buzby (left) on Dec. 7. Chairman Lowell Junkins will serve as acting president and CEO.

Farmer Mac Communications Director Megan Pelaez declined to comment on when or how the board found out about the alleged violations, but said in an email, “As soon as the board was made aware of the violations, it took swift action to terminate Mr. Buzby.”

Buzby became president and CEO in October 2012 after the Farmer Mac board fired Michael Gerber after Gerber successfully brought the once-troubled government-sponsored enterprise back to fiscal health.

Lowell Junkins, who became Farmer Mac’s chairman in September 2010, was appointed acting president and CEO. Pelaez said Junkins is not a candidate to permanently replace Buzby.

“Lowell has expressed his intention to remain in this role for only a temporary period of time,” she said.

“My job, as acting CEO, is to make sure nothing gets in the way of this organization’s stellar leadership team and staff and the excellent work they do every single day,” Junkins said in a press release. “As our third-quarter results demonstrate, we have been performing extraordinarily well and look forward to that continuing without a hitch.”

Junkins operates Hillcrest Farms in Montrose, Iowa, as well as a public affairs consulting firm in the state.

Farmer Mac will consider both external and internal candidates for the post.

“The board will launch an immediate search for a new CEO and will consider both internal and external candidates. It was important that we continued offering continuity in service by appointing an acting CEO, but we intend to find a new CEO after a thorough search process,” Pelaez said.

In the third quarter, Farmer Mac reported net income of $18.5 million, up from $17.5 million in the second quarter and $16.4 million in the third quarter of 2016.

It added $893 million to its portfolio, bringing it to a record $18.6 billion as of Sept. 30, 2017. The additions included the purchase of $293 million of farm and ranch loans and $291 million of AgVantage Securities.

Updated December 7, 2017 at 6:49PM: This story has been updated with additional information from Farmer Mac.

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