Online broker E*Trade Financial Corp. (NASDAQ: ETFC) this morning ousted CEO Steven Freiberg, who had been the company’s chief for just over two years, and replaced him with Frank Petrilli, the chairman of E*Trade’s board of directors. Freiberg’s ouster follows a decline in the company’s stock price of nearly 50% in the past year.
Petrilli made the following comments:
The Company recently implemented a refined business strategy, centered on strengthening the firm’s financial position, while continuing to focus on the core brokerage business — the heart of the Company. We have realigned the Bank organization to exclusively focus on de-risking and de-leveraging while bolstering the Company’s enterprise risk management function. Additionally, we are focused on reducing costs with an enhanced focus on efficiencies. Accordingly, the Board believes it is an appropriate time to transition the role of CEO to a new leader to guide the Company through the next phase of its evolution.
A search committee has been formed to find a permanent replacement for Freiberg and “will focus on candidates who have a strong understanding of the brokerage industry, a foundation in enterprise risk management, and a depth of experience that will allow them to immediately lead E*TRADE’s strategy and management team.”
Petrilli has been a member of E*Trade’s board and its director only since January 2012. He’s got to have the inside track on becoming the company’s new, permanent CEO. Was that the plan all along?
E*Trade’s shares are up nearly 4% in the premarket this morning, at $8.33, in a 52-week range of $7.08 to $12.45.