The lifetime ban against former Countrywide Financial Corp. CEO Angelo Mozilo serving as an officer or director of a public company may be the most positive result to come from his settlement of a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission complaint.
But Mozilo’s company and his conduct created a decade-long road to economic ruin that reached from Wall Street to Main Street. And the settlement between Mozilo’s top staff and the government is just a tiny step forward down the long path to recovery.
Having heard Mozilo speak on a couple of occasions, I can tell you the blunt, plain-talking guy was captivating. He left no doubt about his belief that because he built the company he had a claim to a hefty share of Countrywide’s profits. And his claim on those profits, largely via stock sales even as the housing market was faltering, was a key element of the SEC’s case against him.