Fannie Mae chief executive Herb Allison has been tapped to run the federal government’s financial bailout program, the White House said Friday.

Allison, 65, is the former chairman of investment firm TIAA-CREF. He was also at one time a Merrill Lynch & co. executive.

He must be confirmed by the Senate before taking office.

He would replace former Bush appointee Neel Kashkari, who has remained in place until a replacement was found, at the request of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

Reports earlier this week cited anonymous sources who said that Allison was the leading candidate for the postion.