Countrywide CEO to Give Up $37.5 Million in Payments

By Reuters -  |  Posted 2008-01-28

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Countrywide Financial Corp CEO Angelo Mozilo said on Monday that he would give up $37.5 million in severance pay and other fees he stood to gain from the mortgage lender's sale to Bank of America Corp, amid criticism over his role in the U.S. mortgage meltdown. 

Countrywide has been convulsed by mounting losses and defaults, a loss of access to credit markets and a slew of lawsuits.

Democrats, including U.S. presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton, have questioned Mozilo's pay. Clinton recently said his pay was outrageous, calling him "one of the principal architects of this whole house of cards."

"I believe this decision is the right thing to do as Countrywide works toward the successful completion of the merger with Bank of America," Mozilo said in a statement.

He ranks as one of the top-paid U.S. executives, getting about $387 million from pay and stock option gains from 2002 to 2006, according to U.S. regulatory filings.

Countrywide said Mozilo remains a substantial stockholder and an employee, and that his shares and equity awards will still be treated in the merger in the same manner as those of all other shareholders and employees.

(Reporting by Ritsuko Ando; Editing by Valerie Lee/Elizabeth Fullerton)

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