The man hired to run the Student Loans Company was appointed against officials' advice and without having his references checked, a report says.
Steve Lamey was made chief executive in June 2016 on a year's probation. Within 18 months he was sacked for gross misconduct after whistleblowers made 69 allegations of wrongdoing.
A National Audit Office probe into the government's oversight of the firm said despite the reservations, it failed to properly monitor the appointment.
It is the first time the details of Mr Lamey's tenure and dismissal have been revealed.
The Student Loans Company oversees £100bn worth of debt to the public purse, processes 1.8 million applications a year and has more than eight million customers.
The appointment panel identified one suitable candidate for the job, Mr Lamey.
Article credit: BBC News