Citi’s Freiberg named E-Trade chief executive amid new takeover talk

FORMER Citigroup executive Steven Freiberg has been named as E-Trade’s new chief executive.

Freiberg, will takeover from interim chief executive Robert Druskin on 1 April, ending the search for a successor to Donald Layton.

It is understood Freiberg will earn a base salary of $1m ( £662,000) and is eligible for a $3m cash performance bonus.

The company also announced plans for a reverse stock split leading to talk of a possible merger.
TD Ameritrade and Charles Schwab have been touted as possible suitors.

Robert Druskin said: “We believe a reverse stock split is a logical next step for the company as we complete our financial and managerial restructuring.”

Analysts said takeover talk has dogged E-Trade since the prospect of bankruptcy loomed early last year. The broker suffered mortgage-lending problems during the downturn.

“Getting their share price higher is going to help them because it’s probably going to reduce the churn on their stock,” said Aite Group senior analyst Adam Honore.

“I still hold that they’re ripe for a takeover.”

Freiberg’s severance would be increased to two times his annual compensation if E-Trade was bought by one of its larger rivals, the company said in a regulatory filing.