According to SEC records reviewed by Housing Wire, Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo has continued to exercise stock options at a frenetic pace. Mozilo exercised options on and promptly sold 70,000 shares yesterday, according to SEC records, in a transaction that netted over $1.9 million. That sale came on the heels of an April 16 firesale that saw the Countrywide CEO divest an additional 46,000 shares in a transaction worth approximately $1.1 million. Mozilo also sold an additional 116,000 shares on April 11 in two separate transactions, bringing his total net proceeds to roughly $7 million in the most recent insider-selling binge at Countrywide. Mozilo, who has defended his actions to the press in recent statements, isn't the only officer of the Calabasas, Calif.-based lender to decide to cash out options in recent weeks -- although the well-known CEO is by far the most active seller of his company's securities, according to the SEC. Company director Michael Dougherty also sold 11,395 shares on April 17 in a transaction worth roughly $150,000. The stock sales were conducted under a prearranged 10b5-1 trading plan, which allows a company insider to set up a stock sale program in advance and proceed with the plan even if he or she comes into possession of material nonpublic information. Insiders are required to report transactions in their companies' shares to the SEC, and open market purchases and sales must be reported within two business days of the transaction.
According to a March 23 report at CNN Money, Mozilo had sold Countrywide shares worth $14.3 million since Feb. 28 and $140 million worth over the past 14 months -- numbers that don't include his most recent selling binge. Eric Swanson, an analyst at Morningstar quoted by CNN Money in its coverage, said at the time that the moves by the Countrywide CEO should not be a concern. "This is something he's been doing the last couple of years, not something he's decided to do just because the industry has hit a rough patch," Swanson said. "We would caution against reading too much into it."
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