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Ex-Merrill president supervised bailout

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By Bloomberg News
Tuesday, July 16, 2013, 6:12 p.m.

Herbert Allison Jr., the onetime president of Merrill Lynch & Co. who oversaw the federal bank-bailout program following the financial crisis that led to his former company becoming a unit of Bank of America Corp., has died. He was 69.

He died on Monday in his home in Westport, Conn., of a possible heart attack, his son, Andrew, said.

Allison brought an insider's knowledge to the Treasury Department when in June 2009 he became assistant secretary for financial stability under Timothy Geithner, overseeing the Obama administration's changes to the Troubled Asset Relief Program. He said he believed the largest banks had become too big and were serving too many masters, even before the financial meltdown of 2008 froze credit and crashed markets.

“Because of Herb's extensive experience and sound leadership, TARP became one of the most successful financial rescue programs ever created, and our nation avoided a second Great Depression,” Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said in a statement.

Allison's 28-year tenure at Merrill Lynch, starting fresh out of business school at Stanford University, seemed destined to end with him as chief executive officer. He settled for the company presidency when, in January 1995, then-CEO Daniel Tully named David Komansky as his successor. Four years later, in 1999, he resigned after being informed he would not become CEO.

From 2002 to 2008, he was chairman and CEO of New York-based TIAA-CREF, a retirement-plan investment manager for teachers and others in academic, research, medical and cultural fields.

In 2008, he accepted then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's invitation to become CEO of Fannie Mae, the government-sponsored mortgage-finance provider, which had been placed under government conservatorship because of losses from the collapse of the subprime mortgage market.

President Obama nominated Allison to run the Treasury Department office overseeing the $700 billion rescue of the banking system. Confirmed by the Senate in June 2009, he succeeded Neel Kashkari, appointed by George W. Bush.

Allison stepped down on Sept. 30, 2010. “When all is said and done, this program will be viewed as one of the most effective and least costly forms of assistance” in the financial crisis, Allison said as he was leaving his post.

Herbert Monroe Allison Jr. was born on Aug. 2, 1943, in Pittsburgh. His father, Herbert Sr., retired in 1952 as an agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. His mother was the former Mary Boardman.

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