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Visa (V) CEO to Step Down, Alfred Kelly Named Successor


Visa Inc. V recently announced that its CEO, Charlie Scharf, will step down from his position, effective Dec 1, 2016. Scharf cited his inability to spend more time in San Francisco, which is necessary for rendering his services to the company, as the primary reason for this decision. As unanimously decided by Visa’s board of directors, Scharf will be succeeded by Alfred F. Kelly.

Notably, it was under Scharf that Visa formed several strategic alliances with some of the world’s top technology companies. These initiatives helped the company become the leader in innovative payment processes and solidify its foothold in the industry.

Scharf also steered the company toward growth through successful buyout deals. The acquisition of Visa Europe in 2016 is an important initiative in this regard. Such business strategies helped Visa to consistently deliver strong earnings. In fact, the company’s operating income increased to $9.1 billion by the end of 2015. The addition of the company’s stock in the Dow Jones Industrial Average in 2013 was another important accomplishment. During Scharf’s tenure of four years, Visa witnessed total shareholder return increase by more than 130%, which is substantially higher than both its peers and the overall stock market.

Visa’s board considers Kelly’s appointment to be an appropriate decision. Kelly’s experience in the payment industry stems from his 23 years of association with American Express Company AXP and his tenure as one of the board members at MetLife Inc. MET. Given that Kelly is already a member of Visa’s board, he is well placed to efficiently serve the company on assumption of his new role.


Zacks Rank

Visa presently carries Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

The company has delivered positive earnings surprises in three of the last four quarters with an average beat of 1.9%. Visa is scheduled to release its third-quarter earnings after the market closes on Oct 24, 2016.

Another company from the same space, MasterCard Inc MA, has delivered positive earning surprise in last four quarters with an average beat of 6.9%. MasterCard is set to report its third-quarter earnings before the market opens on Oct 28, 2016. The company has the same Zacks Rank as Visa.

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