Visa CEO Charles Scharf to resign, ex-AmEx president to take over

Mon Oct 17, 2016 11:34pm EDT
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By Sudarshan Varadhan and Anya George Tharakan

(Reuters) - Visa Inc said Chief Executive Charles Scharf, who orchestrated the company's reunion with its European affiliate, is stepping down and will be succeeded by former American Express Co President Alfred Kelly.

Kelly, who already sits on Visa's board of directors, will take over as CEO following Scharf's resignation, which is effective Dec. 1.

Kelly said in an interview with Reuters that he "got a front row seat to the various opportunities and issues the company faces" as a Visa board member since January 2014.

"I don't come in here expecting to make a lot of big changes," he said.

Scharf said in a letter to employees that he could no longer spend the time in San Francisco necessary to do his job properly and is resigning to spend more time with his family.

Visa's shares, which have more than doubled in value under Scharf's watch, were down 1.2 percent at $81.19 in after-market trading.

Kelly takes over at a time when Visa faces multiple challenges, including a federal appeals court decision in June to throw out a settlement with retailers that accused Visa and MasterCard Inc of improperly fixing credit and debit card fees.

Visa also has an ongoing legal battle with Wal-Mart Stores Inc over the use of PINs to verify transactions made over the company's payment networks.   Continued...

A Visa logo is seen on a Formula E racing car during a news conference to present the partnership between Enel Group and FIA Formula E Championship at the MAXXI National Museum  in Rome, Italy May 17, 2016   REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi