Countrywide's Mozilo Gives Up $37.5 Million Severance
Facing investor and legislator uproar over CEO compensation, Countrywide chief Angelo Mozilo said over the weekend that he has decided to forego a $37.5 million severance due him upon retirement. The Countrywide CEO is largely expected to step down from his post as part of a pending merger agreement with Bank of America. "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. "I believe this decision is the right thing to do as Countrywide works toward the successful completion of the merger with Bank of America." In a press statement, Countrywide took issue with what it called an over-estimation of Mozilo's severance compensation. "In recent days, there have been numerous public statements regarding Mr. Mozilo's severance pay package, which some third parties have over-estimated to be as high as $115 million," the company said. "Pursuant to his employment and consulting arrangements with Countrywide, in connection with the merger and a subsequent termination of employment, Mr. Mozilo would be entitled to $36.4 million in cash severance pay and $400,000 per year in consulting fees, as well as private airplane use and other perquisites. These are the amounts and benefits he would be forfeiting."