The bonuses and pay packages of the chief executives at Countrywide Financial Corp., Citigroup Inc., and Merrill Lynch & Co. were not made in the interest of the companies’ shareholders, particularly as the subprime crises was unfolding, according to a report from a U.S. House committee.

 

The Democratic staff of the House Oversight and Government Reform panel said the alignment between the interests of shareholders and compensation of the three CEOs appeared to break down in 2007.

 

Former Merrill Lynch Chairman and CEO E. Stanley O'Neal is set to testify, as well as current Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo and former Citigroup Chairman and CEO Charles Prince.

 

O’Neal received a $161 million retirement package; Mozilo received more than $120 million in compensation and from the sale of Countrywide stock; and Prince received $28 million in unvested stock and options, $1.5 million in annual perquisites and a $10 million bonus.

 

"Despite steep declines in the performance and stock price of the three companies resulting from the mortgage crisis, Mr. Mozilo, Mr. O'Neal, and Mr. Prince continued to be well rewarded," the report said.

 

According to Dow Jones, the memo offers extensive scrutiny of Mozilo’s compensation, particularly the $10 million payment Mozilo is said to have received in 2006 for not retiring.

 

"It is unusual to include compensation for not retiring in the pay package of an actively employed CEO," the report said.

 

The report also questions Mozilo’s changes in his company stock trading plan, noting that he sold 5.8 million shares of Countrywide stock between November 2006 and December 2007.

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