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Ex-Barclays Chief To Head Wall Street Firm

(c) Sky News 2013

A prominent former Barclays (LSE: BARC.L - news) executive is in advanced talks to take the helm of E*Trade Financial, one of Wall Street's largest brokerages.

I have learned that Paul Idzik, who quit the British bank in 2008 after nearly four years as its chief operating officer, is being courted to join E*Trade almost six months after its previous chief executive stepped down.

Sources in New York said Mr Idzik was on the verge of agreeing terms with the board of E*Trade and that an announcement could be made before the weekend.

E*Trade, which is listed on the Nasdaq exchange in New York, provides a range of financial services including online broking to retail investors. It has a market value of nearly $3bn (£1.9bn).

During his career at Barclays, Mr Idzik's management style became a talking point in the City.

One story recounted how he had snapped an employee's pen in half because it did not have the bank’s name on it, while another episode saw him write on a window during a presentation because he had run out of space on a whiteboard.

After leaving Barclays, Mr Idzik became chief executive of the property agent DTZ, but left in August 2011 amid frustration with the progress of takeover talks involving its largest shareholder.

A keen tennis player, Mr Idzik was regarded in the City as an intellectual heavyweight, but he is likely to have his hands full as the new boss of E*Trade.

The Wall Street brokerage has endured a difficult period involving significant losses on its multi-billion dollar mortgage portfolio, and came under pressure to sell itself amid pressure from its biggest shareholder, the investment house Citadel (BSE: CITADEL.BO - news) .

E*Trade parted company with Steven Freiberg, the former chief executive, last August, since when Frank Petrilli has run the company on an interim basis. Mr Petrilli is expected to remain as chairman following Mr Idzik's appointment, Wall Street insiders said.

E*Trade declined to comment.