Citadel, Two-Time E*Trade Savior, Calls For Change

Jul 21 2011 | 1:59pm ET

Kenneth Griffin is not a man known for his patience, and his patience with E*Trade Financial Corp. may have finally run out.

Griffin's Citadel Investment Group, which has twice bailed out the troubled online brokerage and is its biggest shareholder, treated the company to a tongue-lashing, calling on E*Trade to put itself up for sale, get rid of two board members and change its staggered board structure.

"Since November of 2007, the board has continually failed to act in the best interest of E*Trade shareholders," Citadel wrote. "Having endured nearly four years of value destruction and lost opportunity, we believe it is time for change."

Calling E*Trade "a phenomenal franchise… squandered," Citadel blamed the company's board for "destroying more than $9 billion in stockholder value" and blasted it for E*Trade's "disastrous foray" into mortgage-backed securities.

E*Trade CEO Steven Freiberg said he was "surprised and disappointed by" Citadel's letter, but that he and the board will be "carefully considering" Citadel's demands.

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