In his first day as Global Payments' chief executive, Jeff Sloan shared his thoughts about how a new security initiative from Visa, MasterCard and American Express could affect his company.

The card networks' initiative is meant to replace card account numbers with a token for digital payments, and “anything that provides a more secure transaction is a welcome development, whether it’s tokens or EMV, which we have been involved with, or something else,” said Sloan, during an Oct. 1 conference call to discuss earnings for the company's fiscal first quarter, which ended Aug. 31.

Sloan will succeed Paul Garcia as CEO of Global Payments. Garcia will remain as chairman through fiscal 2014, and will be replaced by William I Jacobs as chairman as Garcia retires. Sloan has been responsible for the company's Americas businesses and worldwide mergers and acquisitions strategy since he joined Global Payments in 2010. In 2012, he assumed additional responsibilities for worldwide operations, risk management, customer care and corporate marketing and communications.

The card networks' initiative is focused on standardizing security before mobile payments technology gains momentum. The card networks aim to establish a token to be used in place of an account number, thus reducing the friction involved in typing a 16-digit string of numbers on a mobile device.

If it succeeds, the security initiative may even serve as a catalyst for mobile payments, Sloan said. “If those transactions can be made more secure, it’s great news and I’m sure there will be more to come," he said. 

“Jeff is the right leader at the right time and I’ll be working to make this transition as smooth as possible,” Garcia said, adding he would be meeting with partners over the next few months to introduce Sloan. 

Global Payments’ revenue for the quarter ending August 31, 2013 was $629.9 million, or 7% growth over the prior year; while earnings per share was $1,or 15% growth over the prior year. The company increased its full-year expectations for diluted earnings per share to a range of $3.98 to $4.05, or growth of 9% to 11% over the prior year.

Global Payments has relied on partnerships in global markets such as Brazil and the U.K. to bolster its earnings.  The company will work with PayPal as part of the U.K. rollout of the PayPal Here mobile card reader, and it has a strategic partnership with CaixaBank in Brazil. Global Payments also expanded overseas in the prior quarter in a partnership with Axiata, a telecommunications provider in Sri Lanka. The company will continue that strategy, with a particular focus on Asia, Garcia said, adding that Global Payments is looking for acquisitions and partnerships in that region.

In the U.S., Global Payments works with PayPal and Discover on a project to bring PayPal to the retail point of sale.

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