UPDATE 2-Ricketts retires from TD Ameritrade board

Fri Sep 16, 2011 11:31am EDT

* Founder stepping down effective Oct. 20

* Ricketts' son Todd to fill seat vacated by his father

* TD Ameritrade up 0.2 pct in early trade (Adds comments from TD Ameritrade CEO, details)

Sept 16 (Reuters) - TD Ameritrade Holding Corp (AMTD.O) said on Friday Joe Ricketts was retiring from the board of the discount brokerage he founded more than 35 years ago, giving him more time to pursue entrepreneurial ventures and philanthropy.

Ricketts, 70, and his partners founded TD Ameritrade's predecessor, First Omaha Securities, in 1975 as a firm that would handle stock transactions for individual investors without providing the kind of investment advice offered by traditional brokerages.

His idea of bringing Wall Street to Main Street, while seen as radical at the time, evolved into the massive online brokerage industry.

"He's made retail investing easier to do yourself and also a lot less expensive to the average American, and I think that's a tremendous legacy," TD Ameritrade Chief Executive Fred Tomczyk said in an interview.

"It's hard to see anyone who's had a bigger impact than he and Charles Schwab."

Ricketts was chief executive of the company from 1981 to 2001. He served as chairman of the board from the company's initial public offering in 1997 until October 2008, after which he became a director on the board.

"After more than 35 years working with talented teams to help TD Ameritrade grow into an exceptional company, the time is right for me to focus on new adventures," Ricketts, who is stepping down effective Oct. 20, said in a statement.

Ricketts remains the largest individual shareholder of TD Ameritrade, with just under a 9 percent stake. His son Todd, who is currently a director of The Chicago Cubs, will fill the seat vacated by his father.

Toronto Dominion Bank (TD.TO) is the biggest institutional shareholder, with around 44 percent of the company, which competes against Charles Schwab Corp (SCHW.N) and E*Trade Financial (ETFC.O).

Ricketts is involved in several early-stage companies, including bison meat distributor Golden Bison, online neighborhood news source DNAinfo.com, feature movie company The American Film Company, and fly fishing destination Jackson Fork Lodge.

He also established and directs the charitable foundation Opportunity Education and its sister charity, Opportunity Education College Fund.

"Joe Ricketts isn't retiring," said Tomczyk. "He tried retiring and it's not in his DNA. He's back to his entrepreneurial roots."

Shares of TD Ameritrade were up 0.2 percent at $14.93 in New York early on Friday.

(Reporting by John McCrank in Toronto; Editing by Frank McGurty)

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