Visa CEO Scharf quits

Visa CEO Scharf quits

After four years in the job, Visa chief executive officer Charlie Scharf has handed in his notice, to be replaced by former American Express president Alfred Kelly.

Scharf will leave the role on 1 December after telling the Visa board "he could no longer spend the time in San Francisco necessary to do the job effectively". His family is based on the East Coast.

Kelly, who spent 23 years at American Express and has been a Visa board member since 2014, will become CEO designate on 31 October before taking over, with Scharf serving as an advisor for several months.

Before becoming Visa chief in 2012, Scharf ran the retail banking unit at JPMorgan Chase. His time at the card giant has coincided with the rise of new digital channels, while he has also overseen the recent acquisition of Visa Europe and a tense standoff with retailers over fees.

Robert Matschullat, independent chairman, Visa, says: "Charlie has been a visionary CEO, highly successful by any set of metrics. He has helped transform Visa, the leading global payments technology company, into a technology-driven digital commerce company and has led a strategy that will benefit this company for years to come."

On Kelly, Matschullat adds: "The board unanimously agrees that Al is the right leader for the company, and we expect a seamless transition given Al’s deep knowledge of the industry, demonstrated leadership capabilities, and his strong relationships with the talented management team currently in place."

Comments: (2)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 18 October, 2016, 08:53Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Jumped or pushed? Perhaps the likely enourmous payoff for the Visa Europe takeover will soften the blow. There is no doubt that Scharf has turned around what was "an old boys network" to make it more commercial and the stock price has performed well. I suspect Ryan McInerney will leave too.

Once Kelly takes over I suspect Visa Inc will see an even more commercial approach and the belts tighten. The interesting thing is what happens to Nicolas from former Visa Europe. Surely his tenure is over (another large golden handshake) as he probably had his eye on the top job too. I am confused by Kelly's statement that he plans to be based in New York - isn't that what Scharf wanted too?

I think a big loss for Visa, Scharf was well liked.



Hitesh Thakkar
Hitesh Thakkar - SME - Fintech startups (APAC and Africa) - India 18 October, 2016, 11:10Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Hope to see Kelly will reinforce some good business practices of AmEx.

Kudos to Charlie for leading VISA to jump into high growth and innovation orbit in payments space.