Shakeup May Signal E*Trade's Availability

New chairman could steer struggling brokerage toward buyer
By Jim O'Neill,  Newser User
Posted Mar 3, 2008 10:48 AM CST
E*Trade Financial has named Donald Layton its new CEO.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – E*Trade Financial, stung by mortgage- and mortgage-backed securities market losses, is adding CEO to chairman Donald Layton's duties. The company may be dolling itself up for a possible sale by polishing its tarnished image, the Wall Street Journal reports. Since Layton, 57, became chairman in November, the brokerage has rebounded from a $1.7 billion fourth-quarter loss.

"Their image has been dinged, they've lost some business and now they're faced with having to turn around the company," a trader who recently left E*Trade told Bloomberg. Shares rose slightly on the news but have fallen 13% since November, when Citadel Investment Group pumped $1.75 billion into the near-bankrupt brokerage. Possible purchasers include rivals Ameritrade and Schwab.