Mozilo Cashed Out at Top of Market
And while he has no control over the stock sales made in his 10b5-1 program, he does inevitably have huge influence over his company's share price while the shares are being sold.
Back in March, when the market first started panicking about the mortgage slump, Countrywide stock was still trading around $35. I wrote in this space about the fact that Mozilo and other insiders were shoveling stock out the door on an heroic scale. The CEO responded by going on TV to say that the mortgage turmoil was an "overreaction" that would "pass rather quickly" once people looked at the situation calmly.
He even went further, predicting that his company would benefit from the industry shakeout. "This will be great for Countrywide because at the end of the day all the irrational competitors will be gone," he said. "A lot of our competitors are disappearing, virtually overnight." As a result, he said, Countrywide was seeing "a flow of new business coming in. ... At the end of the day, we're going to be in an extremely dominant position."Comments like that did nothing to hurt the share price, which stayed above $35 right through the spring, and even into July. During that period, Mozilo's broker sold $95 million worth of his shares at an average price of $35.37, company filings show. The investors who bought those shares have already lost $41 million. How does Mozilo view the situation now? "I don't see a light here at the moment," he said last week.
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