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Visa Inc. has already raised it full-year earnings forecast twice this year, as more people move to card-based payments globally. (JASON REED/REUTERS)
Visa Inc. has already raised it full-year earnings forecast twice this year, as more people move to card-based payments globally. (JASON REED/REUTERS)

Visa picks JPMorgan’s Scharf as CEO Add to ...

Visa Inc. said Charles Scharf, a former head of JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s retail financial services division, will succeed Joseph Saunders as chief executive officer, effective Nov. 1.

Visa’s board had been looking for a successor to Mr. Saunders, who has headed the company since 2007 and was expected to retire soon.

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Mr. Scharf is also returning to Visa’s board. He previously served on the board from 2007 to January, 2011.

Mr. Scharf was moved from JPMorgan’s retail banking business to its private equity arm in 2011, after the lender shuffled several retail banking executives in a push to raise profit.

He is currently managing director at One Equity Partners, which manages $10-billion of investments and commitments for JPMorgan Chase.

“We believe Scharf’s large-scale management experience is a good fit … and our initial checks have been positive regarding his leadership style,” Jefferies analyst Jason Kupferberg wrote in a note to clients.

Mr. Scharf’s experience with JPMorgan will also help Visa. The bank is Visa’s largest card issuer and accounts for about 10 per cent of its profit, Mr. Kupferberg noted.

Analysts do not expect Mr. Scharf to spark major changes at the payment network.

“I think Visa is doing well. I think all he is going to be charged with is moving it forward in the same direction,” Wedbush Securities analyst Gil Luria said.

The San Francisco-based company has already raised it full-year earnings forecast twice this year, as more people move to card-based payments globally.

Visa is scheduled to report its fourth-quarter results on Oct. 31.

Current CEO Joseph Saunders, 66, spearheaded Visa’s 2008 initial public offering and will continue as executive chairman until March 31, after which Visa will appoint a new non-executive independent chairman.

Visa said Mr. Scharf would be paid $950,000 a year in base salary and a bonus of up to 500 per cent.

Mr. Scharf will also receive restricted stock and options worth $19-million, the company said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Mr. Saunders received $11.8-million in total pay in 2011, according to regulatory filings.

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