Source: First Data
First Data Corp. (NYSE: FDC) today announced that Charles Fote, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, has advised the Board that he is retiring from the Company for personal reasons.
Fote, 56, has been CEO since 2002 and Chairman since 2003. He will continue as Chairman until year-end and as a Director until the 2006 Annual Meeting. He will also serve as a consultant for the next eighteen months.
Henry C. (Ric) Duques, 62, who was Fote's predecessor and led First Data from before its IPO in 1992 until he stepped down as CEO in 2002, will return as Chairman and CEO for approximately two years to lead the Company forward while assisting the Board in conducting a thorough and orderly succession process that will evaluate both internal and external candidates.
Duques had served as a Board member of First Data from 1992 until 2004. He was Chairman and CEO from 1992 to 2002, and continued as Chairman from 2002 to 2003. Before First Data was spun out of American Express in 1992, Duques had been President and CEO of the Data Based Services Group of American Express since 1987.
James D. Robinson III, Chair of the Board's Executive Committee, said, "Charlie Fote has played a major role in the development of First Data into a position of market leadership in the U.S. and abroad through impressive organic growth and successful acquisitions. The Board would like to thank him for his numerous and significant contributions to First Data and its shareholders over the past 30 years. We understand his decision to step down and we wish him all the best."
Robinson continued, "We are very pleased that Ric Duques has agreed to return to lead First Data and our talented senior executive team. Ric has a proven track record, having increased the Company's revenues and market capitalization seven-fold during the decade he served as CEO. He is widely acknowledged as an industry leader and is highly respected inside the Company. The Board is confident that First Data will not miss a beat, and is deeply appreciative of Ric's willingness to serve as long as he is needed."
"I look forward to working once again with the dedicated executives and employees at First Data," said Duques. "First Data's powerful competitive position in the electronic payment and merchant markets, as well as its rapidly expanding international business, provide the Company with a compelling platform for further growth. The challenge is to make the most of First Data's market leadership for the benefit of our shareholders, partners, customers and employees. I have the utmost respect for Charlie and know that I speak for the entire organization in saying we will miss working with him and we wish him well."
Duques is a Director of Unisys Corporation and Northern Trust of Florida Corp, and is a Trustee of The George Washington University.
Fote said, "I am proud of what we have accomplished, and I leave knowing the Company is in an excellent position with its best years still ahead. I am confident that Ric and the superb management team we have built will continue to leverage First Data's advanced technology, innovation and strong position in key growth markets to build value for our shareholders."
Fote joined First Data in 1975, before it became part of American Express. He became Vice President - Finance & Planning with the American Express Money Order Division in 1981 and Executive Vice President of American Express Travel Related Services' Data Based Services Group in 1985. He served as President of First Data's Integrated Payment Systems subsidiary from 1989 until 1991, when he became Executive Vice President of First Data. In 1998, he was named President and Chief Operating Officer of First Data. In 2002, he became Chief Executive Officer, and in 2003 also became Chairman.