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E*Trade Chairman Petrilli to leave and be replaced by Lawson
March 8, 2013 / 3:01 PM / in 5 years

E*Trade Chairman Petrilli to leave and be replaced by Lawson

NEW YORK, March 8 (Reuters) - The revolving door at E*Trade Financial Corp continues to spin, as the loan-damaged company said discount brokerage veteran Frank Petrilli, will step down as chairman, to be replaced by former Fidelity Investments president Rodger Lawson.

New York-based E*Trade, which lost $113 million last year and is winding down its ill-timed expansion into banking to focus on its brokerage operations, said Friday that the shift will occur at its annual meeting scheduled for May 9.

In January, E*Trade appointed Paul Idzik as chief executive, its seventh since 2007, including interim CEOs. Idzik has ousted several executives in recent weeks, including chief marketing officer Nicholas Utton, who has been credited with shepherding the company’s award-winning “smart-baby” campaign.

Idzik replaced Steven Freiberg, who was ousted after disagreeing with the company’s board about the shift away from lending.

Ronald Fisher, who has been a director of E*Trade since October 2000, is also stepping down from the board in May due to his expanded responsibilities as president of SoftBank Holdings, E*Trade said.

The departure of Fisher, who was 64 as of May, according to a regulatory filing, will leave E*Trade with a board of 11 members as the company has not nominated a replacement.

The board includes Citadel LLC hedge fund CEO Kenneth Griffin, who helped bail out E*Trade in 2007 and subsequently encouraged the board to sell the company.

Petrilli, 62, has been a director since last year and served as interim CEO before Idzik’s arrival in February.

“My decision to not stand for re-election was a difficult one, but reflects my other business and time commitments,” he said in a prepared statement.

From 1995 to 2004, Petrilli was an executive at rival discount broker TD Waterhouse, now TD Ameritrade Holding , where he was president and CEO. He has also been president of American Express Centurion Bank. In 2010, he served as CEO of now-defunct Surge Trading, Inc., which he and other equities executives tried to revive out of the former market-making operations of Bernard Madoff Securities.

“Petrilli leaving is a loss,” said Richard Repetto, an analyst at Sandler O‘Neill Partners who follows online brokers. “What immediately comes to mind is that they’ve had a lot of change at the top.”

Lawson, 66, has been on E*Trade’s board since February 2012 and served as lead independent director from August of that year to January 2013. In addition to his stint at Fidelity, he has held executive posts at Prudential Financial, Van Eck Global and Dreyfus Service Corp.

Shares of E*Trade, which have advanced 16.8 percent over the past year, were down 6 cents at $11.25 in early trading.

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