Sh*t CEOs Say: 6 Outrageous Statements from America's Big-Mouthed Overlords
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5. “I have no regrets about…how Countrywide was run. It was a world-class company.”
Spoken like a world-class asshole! Angelo Mozilo, the former head of Countrywide, brought “subprime mortgage” into common parlance by chasing high-risk borrowers to boost market share. Countrywide's shady practices led to a frenzy of subprime lending in the industry that eventually torpedoed the economy. To keep the frauds and hustles going, the company aggressively silenced whistleblowers.
But according to the perma-tanned Mozilo, foreclosure problems in America had nothing to do with his company. It was all the fault of irresponsible homeowners who decided to abandon their homes because the value dropped below the mortgage amount. “These people didn't lose their jobs,” he fumed. “They didn't lose their health. They didn't lose their marriage…They left their home because the values went below the mortgage. That's what caused the problem.”
Oh, really? As CNBC’s John Carney has pointed out, there’s no evidence that anything but a tiny fraction of homeowners walked away from underwater mortgages, even at the very height of the crisis.
Nobody bought Mozilo’s ludicrous defense, including the SEC, which sued him for fraud. Mozilo's and Countrywide's insurance policies paid $67.5 million to settle a civil fraud case and Mozilo is banned from ever serving as an officer or a director at any public company. Portfolio magazine ranked him as #2 on its list of "Worst American CEOs of All Time."
6. “I’m doing God’s work.”
Obviously, this list would not be complete without acknowledging the spectacular verbal gifts of Lloyd Blankfein, chief of Goldman Sachs. Blankfein sees himself as the champion of the free market, a hero who mocks the public and revels in his power.
In the gaffe-of-all-gaffes, Blankfein proclaimed the heavenly mission of investment bankers, insisting that they are doing “God’s work.” He added, perhaps with some foreboding, "I know I could slit my wrists and people would cheer."
Goldman Sachs has made a specialty of defrauding investors by hiding conflicts of interest between itself and its customers. In 2010, the company was forced to pay a $550 million fine to settle securities fraud charges.
Recently, Blankfein expressed his commitment to seeing that Social Security and Medicare will not be there for the elderly.
God certainly works in mysterious ways.