E*Trade names Morgan Stanley's Nandra as president

NEW YORK Tue Apr 30, 2013 6:58pm EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - E*Trade Financial Corp (ETFC.O) named a pair of executives with consumer experience to fill top operational and marketing roles on Tuesday, continuing a house cleaning that began when the discount broker hired a new chief executive in January.

The New York-based firm named Navtej Nandra, head of international operations at Morgan Stanley Investment Management for the past three years, as president of the company and head of its core retail brokerage operations.

Nandra, 46, replaces Michael Curcio, a 10-year veteran who had run the brokerage unit, E*Trade Securities, since 2005. Curcio is the fifth top executive to step down since Paul Idzik became chief executive of E*Trade early this year.

E*Trade on Tuesday also named Liza Landsman as chief marketing officer. She was most recently global head of digital marketing at investment management firm BlackRock Inc (BLK.N) and had previously worked at Citigroup Inc (C.N) and Bravas Partners.

Nandra, who was chief operating officer of global wealth management at Bank of America Corp's (BAC.N) Merrill Lynch before joining Morgan Stanley, is E*Trade Financial's first president since 2008. He will receive a base salary of $750,000 this year and a guaranteed performance bonus of $3.3 million in cash and stock, according to a regulatory filing.

Under Curcio's employment agreement, he would receive severance of at least $3.0 million if he were terminated "involuntarily," E*Trade said in a 2012 regulatory filing.

Nandra, whose appointment is effective immediately, "will help ensure the company's customers remain at the forefront of E*Trade going forward," the company said in a news release.

At Morgan Stanley, which he joined in the summer of 2010 to help revive its troubled investment management operations, he oversaw a 60 percent rise in the investment bank's international assets under management, E*Trade said.

A Morgan Stanley spokesman confirmed Nandra's departure and said the company has no plans to replace him. His responsibilities will be assumed by other executives.

E*Trade has suffered hundreds of millions of dollars of losses from making subprime mortgage loans during the financial crisis that began in late 2007 and the company has been working to raise new capital and wind down its lending operations.

Landsman replaces Nicholas Utton, one of several executives forced out since Chief Executive Paul Idzik joined E*Trade at the beginning of the year.

On a conference call with investors last month, Idzik suggested he would find new leaders to refocus E*Trade on its core retail brokerage activities following a review of the roles and responsibilities of the company's executive committee.

E*Trade, known for its precocious-baby ads, needed a "much sharper" marketing focus that deemphasizes some advertising and looks more closely at analytics, Idzik said. The company also is trimming marketing costs this year.

In a prepared statement, Landsman said she will capitalize on the "iconic brand" E*Trade has created, but will take "a sharper, more analytic focus" to raise the customer base and sales.

E*Trade shares, up 15.2 percent since the start of the year, fell 2 cents to $10.29 on Tuesday.

In addition to reorganizing the executive suite, Idzik is presiding over a smaller board. Three directors are stepping down before the company's annual meeting next month. They include Kenneth Griffin, founder of the hedge fund Citadel LLC, which has bailed out E*Trade with more than $4 billion of debt and equity since 2007.

Citadel, which had been pushing for a sale of the company, was E*Trade's biggest shareholder until it sold its remaining 9.6 percent stake last month.

Also leaving the board are Frank Petrilli, a discount brokerage veteran who served as chairman and interim CEO of E*Trade, and Ronald Fisher, the president of SoftBank Holdings who had been on the board since 2000. E*Trade said in March that former Fidelity Investments president Rodger Lawson will replace Petrilli as its chairman.

(Reporting By Jed Horowitz; Editing by Leslie Adler and Andre Grenon)