Card payment network Visa has named industry veteran Joseph Saunders as its new chairman and chief executive as it prepares to transform into a publicly traded company.
Saunders joined Visa's board of directors in February as executive chairman and will oversee the Visa's conversion from a bank-owned cooperative to an independent publicly listed company.
He joined Visa after a 30 year career in financial services. Prior to Visa Saunders was president of card services at Washington Mutual, having joined the bank following the acquisition of Providian Financial in 2005.
Saunders joined Providian Financial in 2001 as president and CEO and was elected chairman in 2002. From 1997 to 2001 he served as chairman and CEO of credit card services at FleetBoston Financial Corporation.
Prior to joining FleetBoston, Saunders spent 12 years at Household International, where he held various senior roles, including chief executive of card services and head of the private label credit card business.
Based in San Francisco, Saunders will report directly to Visa's transition governance committee, which includes representatives from the boards of each of Visa's regions, Inovant and Visa International.
Visa disclosed plans for an IPO last October and said it would restructure its operations to create a new public company called, Visa Inc.
The new company will include all of Visa's geographical units except for Visa Europe, which will remain a membership association, owned and governed by its European member banks.