Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman L. William Seidman, who has been leading the cleanup of the nation's thrift industry, suffered a separated pelvis Wednesday in a horse riding accident at his New Mexico ranch and could be sidelined during the closing weeks of his tenure, according to an FDIC spokesman.
Seidman, one of the country's most outspoken financial regulators, was listed in satisfactory condition in an intensive care unit after surgery to repair a separated pelvis at St. Vincent Hospital in Santa Fe, N.M.
An FDIC spokesman said the 69-year-old Seidman was alert and had already asked that a facsimile machine and a telephone be installed in his hospital room.
But doctors in Washington said that it ordinarily takes six to 12 weeks for a full recovery from pelvic surgery.
Seidman's blunt views on the savings and loan crisis have often rankled Bush administration officials who have been more optimistic about their ability to straighten out the industry's problems.
Seidman has said that he would announce his retirement plans sometime after June 30 from his twin jobs as head of the FDIC and chairman of the Resolution Trust Corp., the agency created by Congress to clean up the S&L industry. June 30 was the target date he set for the sale of 141 insolvent thrifts, and in recent weeks the RTC has been a flurry of activity as it rushed to meet that goal.
Seidman was in New Mexico to speak to the New Mexico Bankers Association and to take part in an FDIC management conference. He had gone for an overnight visit to his New Mexico ranch and was to return to Washington to testify at a Senate Banking Committee hearing yesterday.
John Bovenzi, Seidman's deputy at the FDIC, said Seidman was thrown from his horse possibly after it was stung by a bee. His daughter was with him and called an ambulance. During surgery, doctors pinned the bone in Seidman's pelvis. The FDIC chairman also suffered bruises and some internal bleeding, Bovenzi said.
Despite his age, Seidman is known for his energy, and Bovenzi said "he'll be running the place from a hospital room, I'm sure."