04th Jan 2013

Charles Scharf takes over at Visa

In November 2012 an executive reshuffle was announced at Visa Inc. Charles Scharf (47) took over as CEO as Joseph Saunders stepped down after five years in the role. Scharf came to the company from One Equity Partners, the private equity unit of JPMorgan Chase. Scharf worked at JPMorgan Chase for nine years in total, overseeing $30 billion in revenue. He has a long history in the business, having previously held positions in Citigroup and Bank One. Though Scharf has by now taken the helm, Saunders will keep his title as chairman of the board until March 2013.

At the time of transition, outgoing CEO Saunders praised Scharf highly, “I have known Charlie Scharf for almost a decade and I believe he is uniquely qualified to lead Visa in the future. He has a record of profitably growing businesses, and managing complex, large-scale global enterprises. I am confident that under his leadership, Visa will continue to grow its core business globally and deliver innovation that meets customer needs. I look forward to working with him to make this transition seamless.”

It is a crucial time in the payments industry. The market is changing, as there is a huge growth in online payments and ecommerce. So it is an interesting time for the new CEO. This week Charles Scharf reaches his 60 day marker in the role. No doubt he will have already faced many challenges during this intense period, and remaining focused on the strategic priorities can be difficult. This is why the 60 day point is a milestone worth noting. Scharf will find it hugely beneficial to stop and take stock. He should reflect on his progress by assessing what he has achieved thus far, and what he has yet to achieve. The first 60 days can fly by in a haze of handshakes and hellos, and it is easy to get sidetracked. Scharf needs to be confident that he is on track to achieving his aims. If he isn’t, he needs to figure out why, and make the necessary changes.

Scharf is nearing the end of his first 100 days as CEO of Visa. The last 40 days are crucial, he needs to be ready, energised, and focused, to ensure he makes the true impact that he planned.



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