It’s hard to be Angelo Mozilo. No one understands him. Not those disgusting losers who for whatever reason didn’t get that the mortgages Countrywide sold them were time bombs that would soon blow up in their faces. Not the strident attorney generals of California and Illinois, who each filed suit against the bank yesterday for misleading consumers and negatively impacting the global economy. Not the SEC or the FBI or the Federal Trade Commission or the Justice Department, all of whom for some reason seem to think there’s something weird about the fact that Mozilo (a) sold a bunch of his own stock in Countrywide while encouraging others to buy, (b) managed to rake in hundreds of millions of dollars as his company tanked, and (c) set up a VIP loans for his friends. Like those people who call him Mozilla because of his leathery hide and tendency to stomp the little people — he knows all those pallid peons are just jealous, jealous of his golden skin and his golden coffers. But still it hurts. It hurts to be The Moz. And yesterday at the final shareholder meeting before the sale of the company to Bank of America on Tuesday, could you blame him if he cracked a little? He started out with his usual defensive bluster: “Despite widespread and often unfounded headlines of the past year, Countrywide has made a positive impact on the country,” he said. And then came the tears.
At one point Mozilo got emotional, reached for a water bottle and said “Excuse me, this is one of the drawbacks to being Italian.” Then after taking a drink, he added, “the only one.”
What a moving scene! Except that these tears were most likely tears of joy and gratitude since it is wholly amazing that Bank of America is still planning to buy this monster of a company.
At Countrywide’s End, an Emotional CEO [Business Week]