Visa CEO Charlie Scharf Steps Down ‘to Spend Time With Family’

KWIDZYN, POLAND - APRIL 10, 2014: Closeup of VISA credit card isolated on white background. VISA is one of the three biggest brands. First VISA card was issued in 1958
KWIDZYN, POLAND - APRIL 10, 2014: Closeup of VISA credit card isolated on white background. VISA is one of the three biggest brands. First VISA card was issued in 1958

(ABC News) — Unable to spend adequate time at the company’s San Francisco headquarters, Visa CEO Charlie Scharf will step down from his post, effective Dec. 1, according to the company.

The announcement on Monday surprised analysts, as the relatively young CEO has overseen a generally successful period at the payments company, with its share value growing more than 130 percent while he was in charge.

Visa said that its board has selected Alfred Kelly, a current member of its board and a former president of American Express, to take on the role being vacated by Scharf.

While Scharf did not offer much detail on his motivations for leaving, he was quoted in the company’s announcement as saying that “running a San Francisco based company just doesn’t work for me personally right now and wouldn’t be fair to Visa.”

In a note to investors on Monday, analysts with Deutsche Bank said, “Although the announcement came as a surprise to us, it appears Charlie needs to spend more time with his family on the East Coast.”

The analysts — Bryan Keane, Ashish Sabadra and Korey Marcello — noted that the board’s search process, which began when Scharf notified it “of his preliminary decision in mid-Sep. 2016,” was “a relatively short time for a traditional CEO search” for a company of Visa’s stature.

However, they said that “early feedback is that [Kelly] was well regarded” at American Express and that they expect Visa to continue growing at a steady clip.

The company said that Kelly would join it on Oct. 31 as its CEO-designate and that Scharf would work in an advisory role “for several months” after Kelly takes the reins on Dec. 1.

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