Dive Brief:

  • Visa Chairman Al Kelly plans to leave his post as head of the card network company’s board and exit the board as of Jan. 23, the company said in a press release Wednesday. After that date, he’ll remain a senior adviser until Feb. 15, when he retires from the company. 
  • The board elected the current lead independent director, John Lundgren, as Visa’s new chairman, effective Jan. 23, but his appointment is subject to his re-election to the board. That vote will take place at the company’s annual meeting on Jan. 24.
  • Kelly informed the board’s nominating and governance committee of “his intention not to stand for re-election” on Monday and the board elected Lundgren on Tuesday, the San Francisco-based company said in a regulatory filing regarding the change.

Dive Insight:

Kelly has been in a leadership position at the company for eight years, first becoming CEO in 2016, and holding that role until February of this year, and later becoming chairman in 2019, according to the company’s release.

“I leave knowing Visa is in excellent hands, both with Ryan [McInerney], who as CEO continues to lead Visa to greater heights, and John, who has my admiration and respect,” Kelly said in the release.

While Visa has long maintained a dominant position in the U.S. credit and debit card markets, the accelerating digitization of payments worldwide presents new opportunities and competitive challenges for the company. Regulatory pressures have also increased in recent years as the Biden administration has become more focused on injecting competition into U.S. commerce and some congressional leaders have targeted the card network industry for regulatory changes that could undercut Visa’s leading market share. 

Last November, Visa named Ryan McInerney as Kelly’s successor and the new CEO took over in February. McInerney began making changes to the management team shortly after he was appointed last year. He also quickly began mapping out a global growth strategy.

“Al led Visa through a pivotal evolution in the payments ecosystem, marked by the emergence of new technologies, a global pandemic and an unprecedented acceleration in the use of digital payments,” McInerney said in the release. “Through it all, he drove significant growth across Visa’s business.”

In a move that could bolster its international expansion, the company last week appointed an advisory council for its Visa Economic Empowerment Institute.


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