Ken Bacon, the highest-ranking executive in Fannie Mae’s multifamily division, will soon be stepping down.

Bacon, a 19-year veteran of Fannie Mae, will retire from his post as executive vice president of multifamily by the end of the first quarter. His replacement will be Jeff Hayward, a 25-year veteran of Fannie Mae, a company spokesperson confirmed.

Hayward currently serves as senior vice president of Fannie’s National Servicing Organization, where he manages the company’s relationships with mortgage servicers, with a focus on curtailing credit losses.

Hayward has served in several positions on Fannie's single-family side, but he has a lot of experience on the multifamily side of the company too, particularly in affordable housing. Before his stint in servicing, Hayward served as senior vice president for community lending, managing Fannie’s national community lending staff as well as the company’s relationships with housing finance agencies

Rick Wolf, who ran Fannie Mae’s small loan program but left the company in June 2009, applauded the move. “ I’m very encouraged by the way they’re managing their senior leadership,” says Wolf, now a vice president for New York-based lender Greystone. “The gentleman who’s moving into Ken’s seat is fabulous and will help with retention, and the business, a lot.”

Fannie Mae has had more success than Freddie Mac in retaining key executives since being seized by the federal government in September 2008. Freddie has lost more of its high-profile staff, including Mike May, Mitch Kiffe and, most recently, Mike McRoberts, to the private sector over the last two years, as well as many regional directors.

Insiders say that Fannie’s greater level of success is no surprise, given the difference in staffing between the two companies—Freddie Mac is more understaffed, which leads to a more demanding work environment.

Though many industry stakeholders fear a continued “brain drain” from the GSEs, Bacon’s retirement has been planned for more than a year.