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CEO Profile

Joseph W. Saunders - CEO of  Visa Inc - Most Respected CEOs - Tops CEOs - Best CEOs - CEO Q Magazine

Joseph W. Saunders
CEO of  Visa Inc

The CEO of the Largest IPO in US History

Company Profile

Industry: Payment Processing Network
Employees: 5,700
Revenues: $ 7B
Market Cap: $ 64B

CEO Achievements

  • When Saunders took the helm as chairman and CEO at Visa In, he successfully combined several independent Visa entities – including operating units in the US, Canada, Latin America, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East – into a single global company. The Saunders-led $19 billion Visa Inc. IPO, which merged these entities, remains the largest IPO in U.S. history.

  • Under Saunders leadership Visa had a stellar track record of financial performance since the IPO. In the midst of the country’s economic challenges Visa has continued to post strong operational and financial performance, all while delivering excellent results for its shareholders.

  • Since the IPO, Visa has consistently exceeded analysts’ expectations for each earnings period. The financial community has praised the resilience of Visa’s business model, the company’s diverse product set, and senior leadership’s ongoing commitment to expense management.

  • In 2009, Visa returned more than $2.1 billion to shareholders in the form of dividends and buybacks.

  • Additionally, Saunders has aggressively committed Visa to investing in innovation that enables consumers and clients to use Visa products and services in more ways and in more places.

  • To position Visa for future growth, in 2009 Visa invested in its processing capabilities in two key areas:

    • Visa established a joint venture – Visa Processing Service Pte. Ltd. (VPS) with Yalamanchili International to deliver flexible processing services to clients outside the U.S.

    • In parallel, Visa opened a new global data processing center in North America with several IT enhancements that further improve the flexibility, reliability, and scale of VisaNet and increase Visa's ability to process the ever-growing number of increasingly complex electronic payments around the world.

  • Under Saunders, Visa has increased its commitment to global financial literacy. In 2009, Visa announced at the Clinton Global Initiative Conference, that it would educate 20 million people worldwide about the fundamentals of money management by May 2013.

Key Challenges:

  • Financial regulations and expanding to global markets under current global economic conditions

Joseph W. Saunders was named chairman and CEO of Visa Inc. in May 2007. Prior to his current role, Saunders served Visa International as executive chairman of the transition governance committee. He previously served as president of card services for Washington Mutual, Inc. after the acquisition of Providian Financial Corporation, where he acted as president and chief executive officer. From 1997 until 2001, Saunders served as chairman and chief executive officer of Fleet Credit Card Services at FleetBoston Financial Corporation. Saunders holds a B.S. in business administration and an MBA, both from the University of Denver.

CEO Insights

"Financial regulatory reform is meant to make our financial system safer and fairer for consumers. Now, it is about to be hijacked by the nation’s largest retailers, whose lobbyists have attached an amendment that would net their companies billions of dollars at consumers' expense. It does the direct opposite of the bill's intended purpose. It should be stripped out before the bill reaches President Barack Obama" - Joseph W. Saunders, CEO of Visa Inc

Online commerce continues to grow rapidly, and (CyberSource) acquisition will enable Visa to offer new and enhanced services that will better meet the growing demand among merchants globally for robust, secure online payment processing capabilities which in turn will grow the entire eCommerce category...And, as eCommerce increasingly migrates to mobile devices, we believe the combination of Visa and CyberSource technology and services will position Visa to lead in mobile eCommerce. - Joseph W. Saunders, CEO of Visa Inc

Syncada complements Visa’s core payments business by expanding our capabilities in B2B supply chain management. By investing in this leading platform, we can offer Visa’s financial institution clients around the world access to Syncada’s services, backed by a comprehensive sales and support infrastructure that will help extend the reach and capabilities of Visa’s commercial product suite - Joseph W. Saunders, CEO of Visa Inc

I am confident that Visa's world-class employees, competitive strategy, leading brand and network, and diverse product offering will lead to continued success for the company...My experience working with Visa has demonstrated that this is a high-performing, highly focused team that delivers results.- Joseph W. Saunders, CEO of Visa Inc

About Visa Inc
Visa is the world’s largest payments technology company. It connects consumers to 1.7 billion cards, millions of ATM and acceptance locations, and 16,400 financial institutions in more than 200 countries and territories around the globe, enabling them to use digital currency instead of cash and checks. At the heart of business is VisaNet, one of the world’s most advanced processing networks. It is capable of handling more than a half billion transactions per day, with unmatched reliability, convenience, and security no matter whether the transactions take in place in Mumbai or Memphis. Visa does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa’s network innovations, however, enable its bank customers to offer consumers more choices on how to pay – debit, prepaid, or credit – and for what – a car, a monthly cable, or a visit to the doctor’s. From the world’s major cities to remote areas without banks, people are increasingly relying on digital currency along with mobile technology to use their money any time, make purchases online, transfer funds across borders and access basic financial services. This makes life easier and better for consumers, all while enhancing the efficiency of economies around the world.

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