BUSINESSWEEK ONLINE : SEPTEMBER 27, 1999 ISSUE
COVER STORY -- E.BIZ -- THE E.BIZ 25

Christos M. Cotsakos


CHRISTOS M. COTSAKOS

E*TRADE GROUP INC.

Position: Chairman, CEO

Contribution: Made Internet trading hip with outrageous ads and got the attention of Wall Street's giants--forcing them to concoct their own Web schemes.

Ambition: To build a financial powerhouse on the Net to match the breadth and influence of mighty Citigroup's brick-and-mortar operations.

E*Trade Group Inc. (EGRP) is only the second-largest Web trading company. But you wouldn't know it from the stir whipped up by its hyperactive CEO, Christos M. Cotsakos. His in-your-face, ''Boot your broker'' ads made online trading seem ultrahip after Cotsakos arrived in 1996. That was the wake-up call that sent traditional Wall Street firms tearing up old business plans and reaching for the Tums. He's not letting up, either: E*Trade recently began offering after-hours trading and lowered prices for active traders. And now, it's spending $150 million on a new round of ads.

That's just a hint of Cotsakos' blinding ambition. Now, he plans to build an online financial-services empire to rival anything on the Street. Brokerage offerings formed the first building block--letting consumers buy stocks for as little as $4.95 a trade. He's adding online banking and loans and, through partners, insurance, mortgages, and even the ability to buy IPO stocks. For managing all aspects of individual investors' money, ''we'll be the one place you bookmark'' on your browser, vows Cotsakos.

E*Trade can't depend on day traders to pump up its businesses. That's why Cotsakos, 51, is trying to attract the mass of consumers who can't quite bring themselves to use a mouse to buy stocks. That hurdle is ''all about clickophobia,'' says Cotsakos. ''If only we could get people to understand that all the databases of the world won't crash and that your information won't be lost when you send through a trade.'' To combat such fears, E*Trade has a new series of ads to calm nerves. If he can get the message through, he'll be on his way to building a powerhouse that will have Wall Streeters using Pepto-Bismol as a chaser for those Tums.

By Louise Lee

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[empire builders]
Jeffrey P. Bezos
AMAZON.COM INC.

Stephen M. Case
AMERICA ONLINE INC.

Timothy A. Koogle
YAHOO! INC.

[the innovators]
Louis H. Borders
WEBVAN GROUP INC.

Jay S. Walker
PRICELINE.COM

Margaret C. Whitman
EBAY INC.

Glen Meakem
FREE MARKETS ONLINE INC.

James H. Clark
MYCFO INC.

Christos M. Cotsakos
E*TRADE GROUP INC.

[bankrollers]
Masayoshi Son
SOFTBANK CORP., JAPAN

Robert C. Kagle
BENCHMARK CAPITAL

Lawton W. Fitt
GOLDMAN SACHS & CO.

L. John Doerr
KLEINER PERKINS CAUFIELD & BYERS  

Bernard Arnault
LVMH MOET HENNESSY
LOUIS VUITTON  

[the visionaries]
Mary G. Meeker
MORGAN STANLEY DEAN WITTER

John Hagel III
MCKINSEY & CO.

William Joy
SUN MICROSYSTEMS

[the architects]
Louis V. Gerstner Jr.
IBM CORP.

Pehong Chen
BROADVISION INC.

David C. Peterschmidt
INKTOMI INC.

Kevin J. O'Connor
DOUBLECLICK

Ellen M. Hancock
EXODUS COMMUNICATIONS

[the pace setters]
David S. Pottruck
CHARLES SCHWAB CORP.

John T. Chambers
CISCO SYSTEMS

Michael S. Dell
DELL COMPUTER



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