Friday, March 7, 2008

Mozilo Convinced Board He Was Grossly Underpaid

Does anyone actually know what corporate boards do?  If so, please explain, because I am perplexed.  While Countrywide Financial (CFC) was busy giving everyone in America a cash-out-refi-interest-only-no-doc-option-arm, what was CFC's Board doing?  They certainly weren't busy scrutinizing the company's moronic lending practices.  Just a quick look at CFC's REO portfolio of homes, which ranges from $40,000 houses in Sacramento to $3 million homes in ritzy parts of California, shows that they did not discriminate when it came to shoddy underwriting.  Well, as it turns out, they were busy hiring compensation consultants to try to figure out how much to pay CEO Angelo Mozilo.  According to the WSJ, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is due to question Mozilo to figure out why, after two compensation consultants told the board to cut back Mozilo's pay, they opted to listen to Mozilo who asked for more.  According to an email Mozilo wrote to the board expressing his disappointment he claimed that "Boards have been placed under enormous pressure by the left wing antibusiness press and the envious leaders of unions..."  So, what did the Board do?  Instead of telling Mozilo to take a hike and hiring my 8 month old baby, who would have only asked for a stuffed frog as compensation, before running the company into the ground, the board opted to pay Mozilo $250m from 1998-2007 (not counting the $406 million from the sale of stock.)  Somehow I doubt that leaders of unions were personally calling the board and pressuring them, and suspect that Mozilo was the one doing the pressuring.  The good news is that Mozilo has been cordially invited to testify in front of the Committee and that might make for some good television...  

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