Countrywide Chief Mozilo to Forego Severance Pay

January 28, 2008 No Comments »

Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo said today that he would give up his $37.5 million severance package in light of recent criticism concerning his role in both the collapse of his company and the U.S. mortgage market.

Along with the severance, Mozilo will give up $400,000 per year in consulting fees and company perks such as the use of a private plane.

“My primary focus today — as it has been for the past 40 years — is to do what is in the best interests of Countrywide’s employees, customers and shareholders,” Mozilo said in a prepared statement.

“I believe this decision is the right thing to do as Countrywide works toward the successful completion of the merger with Bank of America,” Mozilo added.

Despite foregoing the big exit bonus, Mozilo made roughly $387 million in salary and stock options between 2002 and 2006, according to U.S. regulatory filings compiled by Reuters.

And from 2004 through 2007, sold about $414 million of Countrywide shares obtained via stock options, leading to a probe of his stock sales.

Earlier this month, Charlotte-based Bank of America announced it would buy Countrywide in an all-stock transaction valued at about $4 billion, raising speculation regarding what Mozilo stood to gain despite seemingly driving the company into the ground.

The Calabasas-based mortgage lender, which reported a loss of $1.2 billion third-quarter loss, is scheduled to report fourth-quarter earnings tomorrow, but will not hold its usual conference call.

Shares of Countrywide were down 8 cents, or 1.33%, to $5.94 in early afternoon trading on Wall Street.

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