E*Trade

( EGRP), already watching its stock price swoon, said Wednesday that its president and chief operating officer, Kathy Levinson, is leaving the online broker.

E*Trade said Levinson is leaving to "concentrate on her wide range of philanthropic and community service interests." The company said Levinson wasn't available to comment.

It named its marketing guru, Jerry Gramaglia, to succeed Levinson.

The news comes during a week when E*Trade's stock has fallen to a 52-week low, closing Wednesday down 1 13/16, or 11.5%, at 13 15/16. That's a decline of 28% in three days.

E*Trade Leads the Way Down
The online broker's stock has had a rough couple of weeks as investors fret about declining trading volumes.

E*Trade isn't the only online brokerage to have suffered this week, though it has taken one of the worst beatings. The whole sector has come under pressure as analysts and investors have begun saying declining trading volumes during April and May will hurt commission revenue and margin interest income this quarter. (

TSC

wrote about this issue earlier this week.) And things are unlikely to get better. Trading slows almost every summer.

Levinson has been with E*Trade since 1995, when she came on board as a consultant. She previously worked for competitor

Charles Schwab

( SCH). In 1996, she was named president and chief operating officer of E*Trade's brokerage unit,

E*Trade Securities

, and at the beginning of 1999 took on that role for the entire company, which now also includes

E*Trade Bank

, an online bank.

Levinson is the third top E*Trade executive to leave in the past year. Earlier this year, Debra Chrapaty left her post as chief information officer to join a start-up and last year Rebecca Patton left her job as products manager to go to a smaller company. E*Trade went public in late 1996.

Gramaglia, meanwhile, has been with E*Trade since June 1998, and he oversaw the company's massive advertising campaigns that began in September of that year. The campaigns have swelled E*Trade's customer account numbers but also have pushed the company into the red.