E*Trade to Name Rodger Lawson Chairman, Replacing Frank Petrilli

E*Trade Financial Corp. will appoint Rodger A. Lawson chairman of the board to succeed Frank J. Petrilli, who is stepping down after serving since January 2012.

The change of chairman at the online brokerage will take place at the annual general meeting on May 9 where Petrilli is not seeking reelection, the company said today. Lawson, the 66-year-old former chief executive officer of Fidelity Investments, started as a director on E*Trade’s board in February last year.

Petrilli is leaving as the broker continues to recover from four unprofitable years through 2010, partly because of the subprime mortgage market collapse in the U.S. The New York-based company has been under pressure from its biggest shareholder, Citadel LLC, after “catastrophic losses” during the financial crisis. CEO Steven J. Freiberg was ousted in August and replaced by former Barclays Plc executive Paul Idzik in January as the company’s fifth top executive in five years.

Citadel, a Chicago-based hedge fund, invested $2.55 billion in E*Trade in November 2007 to help the company survive mortgage losses. The investment firm led by billionaire Ken Griffith in 2011 called on E*Trade to hire a bank to review strategic alternatives and take immediate action to maximize shareholder value. The brokerage firm rejected putting the company up for sale.

While the stock has advanced 26 percent this year, it is down 96 percent since June 2007. It lost 0.6 percent to $11.24 as of 11:04 a.m. in New York today.

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