James A. Johnson

On January 1, 1999, James A. Johnson became chairman of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of Fannie Mae, headquartered in Washington, D.C. His career with Fannie Mae spans nearly a decade, having joined the company in 1990 as its vice chair. A year later, he created the Fannie Mae Foundation where he served with distinction as its chairman and CEO from 1991 to 1998. Johnson’s innovative leadership has shaped the Foundation into the leading philanthropic organization dedicated to housing and community development in the country. The Foundation has also garnered recognition as the leading grantmaker in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Johnson may also be credited for Fannie Mae’s donation of $350 million in Fannie Mae stock to the Foundation, creating the robust organization it is today, and for spearheading numerous outreach advertising campaigns that have reached more than 6.5 million potential homeowners. Other achievements include raising millions of dollars for the homeless; creating The National Center for Lead-Safe Housing; collaborating with the National Council of La Raza to create new homeownership opportunities for Hispanic families; advancing Fannie Mae’s policy on diversity within its workforce, and dedicating the organization to eliminating mortgage discrimination; and for lending his vision and expertise to the LeDroit Park Initiative – a Fannie Mae/Howard University partnership committed to revitalizing the historic LeDroit Park community.

Prior to joining Fannie Mae, Mr. Johnson served as founder and president of Public Strategies, a strategic consulting firm in Washington, D.C., and worked for the Carter Administration as executive assistant to Vice President Walter Mondale. He has also served as director of public affairs at the Dayton Hudson Corporation and as managing director of corporate finance at Lehman Brothers.

In addition to authoring Showing America a New Way Home, a book that describes new ways of making homes more affordable to all Americans, Mr. Johnson is actively involved in the community and serves as chairman of the Brookings Institute and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

James A. Johnson was born on Christmas Eve, 1943, in Benson, Minnesota. He earned the Master’s degree in Public Affairs from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School in 1968, and the Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Minnesota in 1965. He and his wife Maxine Isaacs have a son, Alfred.