Countrywide Financial Corp., said Friday it has named David Sambol president and chief operating officer. Sambol replaces Stanford Kurland, who is leaving the company for undisclosed reasons.

Sambol, who has been with the company for more than 20 years, most recently served as executive managing director of business segment operations and will take over duties immediately, the Calabasas-based mortgage company said.

Analysts have speculated that the change may put Sambol in line to take over for Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo when he steps down from the company Mozilo mentioned last year that he planned to retire when he turned 68, which will be Dec.16th.

Shares for the nation's largest mortgage lender have fallen about 11 percent over the past three months and were down 43 cents in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange today.

Before the announcement, Countrywide also reported that Sambol sold 10,000 shares of Countrywide stock for $33.34 a share.

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