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Mozilo Abdicates the Throne

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted June 26, 2008





At a shareholder meeting yesterday it all came to an end. Countrywide Financial slipped beneath the waves.

Meanwhile, CEO Angelo Mozilo rowed quietly away hoping to be left alone to spend his millions.

But inside he just had to be laughing—all the way to the bank.

After all, he has come along way from making sausages and sweeping floors.

Here’s the skinny on yesterday’s shareholder vote.

From BusinessWeek by Christopher Palmeri entitled: At Countrywide’s End, an Emotional CEO

“A subdued Angelo Mozilo got choked up at the last shareholder meeting for Countrywide Financial (CFC). Nearly 70% of Countrywide shareholders approved the firm’s sale to Bank of America (, 1/11/08) at the June 25 meeting. The deal-now valued at $2.8 billion-is expected to close July 1.

Mozilo, a butcher’s son who co-founded Countrywide nearly 40 years ago, called the event “clearly an end of an era” and promised Bank of America (BAC) shareholders they would “reap the benefits of what we have sowed.” At one point Mozilo got emotional, reached for a water bottle and said “Excuse me, this is one of the drawbacks to being Italian.” Then after taking a drink, he added, “the only one.”

At the end of his speech Mozilo received a short and somewhat hesitant standing ovation from the few hundred people in the auditorium, most of whom appeared to be Countrywide employees.

The entire meeting lasted barely 18 minutes and guests were promptly escorted from the meeting room. The haste of the event left some shareholders disappointed. “It would have been nice to give shareholders a little more meat,” said William Rehwald, an investor from Santa Monica, Calif. “Tell us what the synergies are. Pitch the sale.”

Scott Adams, a regional coordinator with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees’s pension fund, came prepared with a speech he did not get to read. Adams said the union had unsuccessfully pushed for resolutions giving shareholders the ability to vote on executive pay packages. Adams scoffed at Mozilo’s claim that Countrywide’s efforts had kept 143,000 troubled borrowers in their homes. “He said they made 22 million loans; 143,000 is not a whole lot,” he said.”


So I guess congratulations are in order for Bank of America and CEO Ken Lewis. They finally grabbed the brass ring.

It’s comical I tell ya.

The approval came as two states sued Countrywide and its chief executive, Angelo Mozilo, accusing the firm of systematically deceiving borrowers to get them to take on risky products the couldn’t really afford.

By the way, here’s a chart of Bank of America. Apparently, this is only a deal a CEO could love.