Visa announced that Joseph (Joe) W. Saunders has been named Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Visa Inc. Visa’s regional boards of directors unanimously approved Saunders’s appointment after an extensive six-month search. Saunders previously had been named the designated Executive Chairman of Visa Inc.’s Board of Directors, a role he assumed in February 2007.
Visa plans to form Visa Inc. through a series of mergers involving Visa Canada, Visa USA and Visa International. Visa Europe will retain its member- owned association structure and will become a licensee of Visa Inc. Because Visa Inc. is not expected to be formed until later this year, Saunders is performing his duties as Chairman and CEO as a designated appointee of Visa Inc.
“Joe’s background is perfectly tailored to this critical position. His 30-plus years of industry experience, the leadership role he has played at major companies, his strong integration experience, and his firsthand knowledge of Visa make him uniquely qualified to lead our company through one of the most exciting times in its history,” said William I. Campbell, chairman of Visa International’s Board of Directors. “After a thorough CEO search effort, it became clear to us that Visa already had the right candidate for the job. Because Joe has been functioning as Executive Chairman for several months, Visa will be able to move forward without the ramp-up period that would be required with an external hire.”
“Visa has developed from its domestic credit card beginnings into a global payments leader, and my position is a tremendous opportunity to contribute to Visa’s growth,” Saunders said. “I have the benefit of viewing Visa from many perspectives — as a former customer and board member, and as Executive Chairman of Visa Inc. — and I am confident that Visa’s world-class employees, competitive strategy, leading brand and network, and diverse product offering will lead to continued success for the company.”
Saunders continued, “My experience working with Visa has demonstrated that this is a high-performing, highly focused team that delivers results. In the second quarter of fiscal year 2007, Visa experienced very strong growth across all product categories worldwide. These results clearly demonstrate that Visa has been realizing the great potential that exists within the dynamic and growing payments industry. I could not be more excited about taking on this role at Visa and working with this talented team during such an extraordinary time for the company.”
Based in San Francisco, Saunders will continue to report directly to the Visa Transition Governance Committee, which includes representatives from all of Visa’s regions, Inovant and Visa International.
Saunders’s career in financial services spans more than 30 years. Prior to becoming Visa Inc.’s Executive Chairman in February, he served as President of Card Services for Washington Mutual, having joined the company following its acquisition of Providian Financial in 2005. Saunders joined Providian Financial in 2001 as President and Chief Executive Officer, and was elected Chairman of its Board of Directors in 2002. From 1997 to 2001, he served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Fleet 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.
Saunders received Bachelor of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees from the University of Denver.
Visa connects cardholders, merchants and financial institutions through the world’s largest electronic payments network. Visa products allow buyers and sellers to conduct commerce with ease and confidence in both the physical and virtual worlds. Visa is committed to the sustained growth of electronic payment systems to support the needs of all stakeholders and to drive economic growth.
Visa products currently generate more than $4.6 trillion in sales volume worldwide. Visa enjoys unsurpassed acceptance around the world. In addition, Visa/Plus is one of the world’s largest global ATM networks, offering cash access in local currency in over 170 countries. For more information, visit http://www.corporate.visa.com