Fannie Mae chief executive Herb Allison is the top candidate to run the federal government’s financial bailout program, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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

President Barack Obama may nominate Allison to the post of assistant secretary for the Office of Financial Stability as early as this week, the Journal reported.

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.