Angelo Mozilo, chairman and chief executive officer of Countrywide Financial Corp., is giving up $37.5 million of severance pay, fees and benefits in the face of pressure from politicians who have berated him for continuing to collect large sums from the mortgage lender even as millions of Americans face the threat of foreclosure.
In a statement released late last night, Countrywide said the 69-year-old Mr. Mozilo will forfeit severance pay, fees and perks that he was to have received upon his retirement, according to the Associated Press. Mr. Mozilo is expected to step down when Bank of America Corp. completes its planned $4 billion acquisition of the Calabasas, Calif., mortgage lender. The sale is due to be completed in the third quarter, though some investors say it may fall through if Countrywide's business continues to deteriorate. (See related article.)
Giving up severance pay won't entirely shield Mr. Mozilo, who has become the public face of the mortgage crisis as the CEO of the nation's largest lender and a frequent guest on CNBC. Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York recently called his pay package "outrageous," and Sen. Charles Schumer, New York's other senator, urged Mr. Mozilo to donate part of his pay to services that counsel distressed mortgage borrowers.