Visa CEO Charlie Scharf Steps Down; Board Appoints Amex Vet Alfred Kelly
The desire to spend more time with family and the rigors of travel have compelled Charlie Scharf to step down as Visa Inc. CEO, according to an Oct. 17 announcement by the payments network. Replacing him is American Express veteran Alfred Kelly Jr., who was unanimously appointed by the board of directors. Scharf’s resignation is effective Dec. 1, 2016. Kelly, a Visa board member, will join the company as CEO designate on Oct. 31, 2016. Scharf will serve as an adviser to Kelly for several months after his resignation takes effect, according to Visa.
“I love working and running this great global company and I am sad to have reached the conclusion that I should step down, but running a San Francisco-based company just doesn’t work for me personally right now and wouldn’t be fair to Visa,” Scharf said in a statement.
CNBC’s Jim Cramer obtained an internal memo from Scharf to his employees that provides more detail behind his rationale for stepping down. Scharf said in the memo that his decision was “entirely personal” and that he has put Visa above almost everything else, adding that balancing travel around the world with spending the necessary time in California has been physically and mentally demanding. “My wife and I have worked hard to continue to spend time with our daughter’s parents and extended family who are all settled on the East Coast,” according to the memo Cramer read on the air. “Unfortunately, there’s a need to be on the East Coast more than we are able and I don’t feel like I can now spend the time necessary in San Francisco to do the job properly. Anything short of complete dedication, both mentally and physically, would not be fair to Visa.”
Among the highlights of Scharf’s four-year tenure as CEO, Visa completed the acquisition of Visa Europe in June 2016. The company also transformed its technology platform by opening access to its network and capabilities through the Visa Developer Center and partnered with technology companies to develop news payments products and services.
Kelly currently is president and CEO of Intersection Co. He spent 23 years at American Express holding a variety of leadership positions, including president and head of global consumer and consumer card services groups.