--New CEO to receive $9 million stock award, $1 million base salary and up to $4.5 million cash bonus
|Do You Like this Article? Then Like Us on Facebook.|
--Any takeover premium that was built into share price likely to be surrendered -Analyst
(Adds background information on former CEOs, compensation, comments from chairman and analysts and stock price throughout.)
E*Trade Financial Corp. ETFC +0.10% named Paul Idzik, former Barclays PLC (BCS, BARC.LN) chief operating officer, as its chief executive, the online brokerage's seventh CEO, counting interim heads, since the company's mortgage woes began in late 2007.
The appointment, effective next Tuesday, caps the New York company's roughly five-month search for a new CEO after it dismissed its former head, Steven Freiberg, in August. Mr. Freiberg, a former Citigroup Inc. (C) banker, was fired two years into a four-year contract as E*Trade continues to reshuffle its leadership amid struggles to recover from heavy losses in its mortgage business.
Mr. Idzik, 51, will receive a $1 million base salary, a one-time $9 million restricted stock award--that will vest over four years--and is eligible to take home an annual cash bonus of up to $4.5 million. In addition to being CEO, he will also lead E*Trade's bank and serve on the company's board.
In a statement, E*Trade Chairman Frank Petrilli called Mr. Idzik "the right person to lead E*Trade as we continue to execute on our strategic and capital plan," touting his "strong leadership skills and his demonstrated ability to deliver results and create shareholder value."
After leaving Barclays in 2008, Mr. Idzik most recently worked at DTZ Holdings PLC, a U.K. property consultant, which was acquired by UGL Ltd. , an Australian infrastructure firm. The deal was announced in late 2011.
E*Trade's CEO announcement didn't generate a sustained buzz among investors as the company's stock initially rose 1.7% on word of its new leadership, but then reversed course, before finishing up just a penny at $9.87. It recently rose 0.5% to $9.92 in after-hours trading.
The lack of enthusiasm likely stems from the market's belief that E*Trade won't be sold any time soon. In 2011, E*Trade was publicly prodded by Citadel LLC, its largest shareholder, to sell itself without success. E*Trade later elected to remain independent amid sluggish market conditions and poor prospects for a deal, though the company is still often mentioned as an acquisition candidate.
In a note to clients, JMP Securities analyst David Trone wrote, "We believe any takeover premium that is in the stock will likely be given back, as this move signals E*Trade's board's desire to remain independent."
Since Mr. Freiberg's dismissal, Mr. Petrilli has led the company on an interim basis. In the fall, he told investors that he wasn't a candidate for the top job at E*Trade, adding that the company was looking for a four- to seven-year commitment.
In October, The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, said Knight Capital Group Inc. KCG +0.27% Chief Executive Thomas Joyce had held preliminary talks about E*Trade's CEO job. Knight, though, agreed to be acquired by Getco LLC for $1.8 billion in December, in a deal that will make Mr. Joyce executive chairman of the combined company.
E*Trade's CEO position has been a revolving door over the past five years as Mr. Freiberg had succeeded Robert Druskin, another Citi veteran, who had served as interim CEO for only a few months. Mr. Druskin followed Donald Layton, who departed after less than two years on the job.
Mr. Layton's tenure followed a short stint by interim CEO Jarrett Lilien, the company's former COO, who led E*Trade after Mitch Caplan was ousted in 2007.
E*Trade has been struggling for more than five years to recover from bad bets made on the U.S. housing market. The company was twice rescued by hedge fund Citadel LLC, which helped shore up E*Trade's capital position. Citadel led a group that pumped about $2.5 billion of cash into E*Trade in 2007 and later injected the majority of a $1.7 billion debt exchange about two years later.
Mr. Trone said Mr. Idzik likely has his work at E*Trade cut out for him as the company, along with its rivals, is suffering from both low interest rates and weak trading volumes. For E*Trade though, the legacy loan portfolio "remains a key overhang for the firm," he said.
In its statement announcing Mr. Idzik's hire, E*Trade said Rodger Lawson will step down as the company's lead independent director, a role he has filled since August. He no longer needed to serve in that position as Mr. Petrilli will continue working solely as E*Trade's chairman.
News of E*Trade's move to name Mr. Idzik as its CEO was reported earlier Thursday by The Financial Times.
E*Trade will report fourth-quarter results next Thursday.