Countrywide (CFC) Chairman and CEO Angelo Mozilo will unload an unspecified number of his struggling company's shares next week as part of a pre-arranged trading plan.
The plan, entered into last October, provides for Mozilo to sell a pre-determined amount of stock on a monthly basis. The stock sales didn't take place in August and September because Countrywide's stock was below a designated floor price.
Countrywide, the nation's largest lender, has been slammed as a spike in defaults of subprime mortgages left investors scared of buying its loans on the secondary market. Its stock has been cut by more than half since reaching a 52-week high of $45.26 in late January.
Shares plunged to a low of $15 in August, but have since rebounded somewhat and closed Friday at $20.25.
For his part, Mozilo
has been criticized for selling hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of stock over the past three years, when his company was thriving.
The trading plan, known as a 10b5-1 plan, allows for a company executive to set up automatic stock sales regardless of company events, so as to eliminate any appearance of insider trading.
"The upcoming sales are driven by rules within the 10b5-1 Plan that were established long ago, and should in no way be viewed as any indication of my future outlook for Countrywide," Mozilo said in a statement. "As one of Countrywide's largest individual shareholders, my interests are firmly aligned with those of our other investors. I recognize that the Company's stock is currently under pressure. However, the terms of the 10b5-1 Plan that I established in October 2006 require that these sales be executed."