Mozilo Keeps on Selling

Saw this SEC filing earlier this morning — Angelo Mozilo keeps on selling stock in his own company. Yesterday’s sale of another 70,000 shares was worth $2.6 million. But, hey, he’s out to show that he’s got at least some faith in Countrywide’s future: the WSJ reported yesterday that Mozilo is taking a cut in base pay.

Elaborating on data included in last week’s proxy statement, Countrywide said his base salary, performance-based bonus and equity-incentive pay would be down by between 48% and 62% this year, depending on company performance.

And he’s doing it because he’s such a sensitive guy, too:

Mr. Mozilo said the move represents an attempt “to be responsive to the environment we’re in today” of closer scrutiny of executive compensation, rather than a signal that he has been overpaid.

Of course, it’s pretty easy to take a small cut in your piddly $1 to $2 million base salary when you’re raking in nearly half a billion dollars worth of options:

In the past two years, he [Mozilo] has received four stock awards totaling 787,694 shares; has exercised options on 13.4 million shares, and has sold shares 254 times. The sales totaled 13.4 million shares for $494,469,881, according to Thomson Financial.

Apparently, there’s now some question as to whether those options were tainted by backdating — a pension fund asked a Delware judge last week to review the company’s option granting practices and records. But let’s be honest here: who cares about all of that when you can make half a billion dollars in cash money within two years? Mozilo’s take makes him his own country — his two-year options earnings alone would rank him in the top 20 global economies worldwide, ahead of Switzerland, Belgium and Sweden and just below the entire output of the Australian nation. (As a reader pointed out in the comments, I screwed up on my attempt to add some snarky color to this story, so let’s just forget I wrote that last sentence….$500 million US dollars is still a ton of money.)

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