Tuesday, 23 October 2007

US unions attack on Countrywide chief

I posted the CTW release about this yesterday. Below is today's report in the Torygraph. I see that AFSCME are involved too.

Unions try to oust Countrywide boss

A group of American trade unions is trying to oust the boss of troubled US mortgage lender Countrywide Financial.

Change to Win (CtW), which represents union pension funds holding an estimated 3.5m Countrywide shares, has written to the company's board asking it to secure the resignation of Angelo Mozilo, the lender's chairman and chief executive.

The letter to Countrywide's senior director, Harley Snyder, refers to the recent investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission into Mr Mozilo's sales of share options, as well as the company's sub-prime mortgage woes.

CtW goes on to allege that Mr Mozilo's has tolerated a "culture of non-compliance" at Countrywide, and refers to a recent report that borrowers were pushed into unsuitable high-cost loans.

The letter claims that such actions artificially inflated the company's share price during the mortgage boom, and have since sent them in to "freefall" as the sub-prime crisis has hit home.

CtW also argues that Mr Mozilo's remuneration is "far out-of-line" with his peers. In 2006, Mr Mozilo received a total of $48m (£24m) in pay, bonuses and other rewards, while Chuck Prince, the chairman and chief executive of Citigroup, received $26m.

Mr Snyder has also received a letter from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, demanding that Countrywide splits Mr Mozilo's dual role and names an independent director as chairman.

Countrywide had not commented at the time of writing.

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