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Best Mortgage CEOs

Forbes ranks CEOs by pay, performance

April 26, 2005


While Countrywide's chief executive was recently ranked among the nation's highest-paid CEOs, it was the head of another California-based lender that was named the best-performing CEO.

Among the heads of America's 500 biggest companies, Forbes magazine recently named Countrywide Financial Corp.'s Angelo Mozilo the ninth-highest paid CEO, making him the top paid within the mortgage and diversified financial services industry.

The 66-year old, who is also chairman and founder of the Calabasas, Calif.-based lender, had compensation of $56.96 million last year, and the market value of the company shares he owns is $40.5 million. The executive climbed 15 spots from his ranking a year ago in which his compensation was reported at $24.8 million. The Fordham University undergraduate has been with Countrywide 36 years and been CEO for seven years, according to the magazine.

Among companies that reported mortgage volume, Countrywide was the top lender last year with $363 billion in loans closed.

photo of Angelo Mozilo
Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo
Forbes defined total compensation "as salary and bonus plus 'other' compensation, which includes vested restricted stock grants and "stock gains," the value realized from exercising stock options during the just-concluded fiscal year." The CEOs on this year's list reportedly received an aggregate 54% pay raise last year with their total compensation amounting to $5.1 billion.

The magazine also ranked 189 CEOs (who have been in office for six years or longer) on their performance, by looking at their average six-year total compensation and comparing it to long-term stock performance of industry peers as well as the overall stock market.

Another mortgage-related CEO Forbes ranked within the nation's top 10 was Capital One Financial's Richard Fairbank, who was one spot below Mozilo with annual compensation of $56.66 million.

The 55-year-old Stanford University graduate owns about $63.3 million of the company of which he has been part of for 17 years and occupied its CEO position for the past 11 years. Performance-wise, the Capital One executive ranked No. 152 -- based on his six-year compensation average of nearly $38 million, as well as the 6-year annual total return to shareholders of 6%, returns of 93% over that time frame within the diversified financials industry and 107% within the overall stock market, the magazine said.

Richard Kovacevich of Wells Fargo, was reportedly the 12th-highest paid CEO, with $53.1 million in compensation. The executive owns $108 million of the San Francisco-based banking behemoth, which was the second largest originator last year with reported fundings of $298 billion.

Rounding out the 25 top-paid mortgage-related CEOs were: Robert Toll, who placed 13th with $50.2 million in annual compensation as CEO of luxury homebuilder Toll Brothers, which finances mortgages through its subsidiary Westminster Mortgage; Richard Fuld Jr. of Lehman Brothers Holdings, 19th with $40.1 million; followed by Bruce Karatz of KB Home with $38.8 million, US Bancorp's Jerry Grundhofer, with $38.6 million; and Dwight Scar of homebuilder NVR at No. 24 with $38.2 million, according to the magazine.

The top 50 reportedly included William Foley of Fidelity National Financial at No. 32 with $33.9 million; Philip Purces of Morgan Stanley with $33.7 million, Jay Sugarman of Star Financial with $32.9 million; Bear Stearns Cos.; James Cayne with $26.3 million; and Henry Silverman of Cendant placed 49th with nearly $24 million.

Amongst the top 100 were Stuart Miller of Lennar, 64th with $19.1 million; JPMorgan Chase's William Harrison Jr. with $18.8 million; Kenneth Chenault of American Express with $18.8 million; Bruce Hammonds of MBNA, 72nd with $17.4 million; Robert Wilmers of M&T Bank with $16.4 million, Washington Mutual's Kerry Killinger came in 83rd with $15.7 million; Timothy Eller of Centex was 88th with $14.2 million; and closing out the segment at No. 99 with $13.4 million in compensation was Ara Hovnanian of Hovnanian Enterprises, the magazine said.

Way down at No. 318 with compensation of $3.2 million last year was reportedly Robert Cole of subprime-lending New Century Financial, which he founded in 1995.

However, Forbes named Cole the best-performing CEO.

"Investors should wish they had more executives like [him] working for them," the magazine said, noting that since the real estate investment trust went public in 1997, Cole has delivered a 25% compound annual return to shareholders. "For this he gets a paycheck that has averaged $1.6 million a year over the past six years."

Within the top five worst-performing CEOs were two mortgage-related executives: Thomas Renyi of Bank of New York placed third and Martin McGuinn of Mellon Financial was fifth, Forbes said.

Coco Salazar is an assistant editor and staff writer for MortgageDaily.com.

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