As you may know, Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo, recently deposed Merrill Lynch CEO Stan O’Neal, and recently deposed Citigroup CEO Chuck Prince are scheduled to testify in front of the House and Government Reform Committee tomorrow, having been called by Representative Henry Waxman of California to defend the gigantic paychecks they received precisely as their companies were hemorrhaging billions of dollars in subprime investments. Muckraked got hold of a memo Waxman wrote summarizing the issue for his colleagues, and it is kind of awesome. “During the five-year period from January 2002 through December 2006, the stock of Countrywide, Merrill Lynch, and Citigroup appreciated, and the three CEOs collectively received more than $460 million in compensation,” he wrote. Then, “Any alignment between the compensation of the CEOs and their shareholders’ interests appears to break down in 2007, however.” But the best part is an e-mail from October 2006, wherein Mozilo smacks down shareholders who suggest his $120 million compensation might be a little much.
Quoth the e-mail:
I appreciate your input but at this stage in my life at Countrywide this process is no longer about money but more about respect and acknowledgement of my accomplishments.… Boards have been placed under enormous pressure by the left wing business press and the envious leaders of unions and other so called ‘CEO Comp Watchers’ and therefore Boards are being forced to protect themselves irrespective of the potential negative long term impact on public companies. I strongly believe that a decade from now there will be a recognition that entrepreneurship has been driven out of the public sector resulting in underperforming companies and a willingness on the part of Boards to pay for performance.
That’s right, Angelo. You’ve got to fight those liberal bastards or else they’ll take away everything that is right and good in the world. Now go tell it on the mountain, friend.