MoneyGram's Kamila Chytil is assuming a new position at the company amid major changes.

This year for MoneyGram could not be more dynamic. The company's about to play a key role in the expansion plans of one of the world's largest e-commerce companies — Alibaba's Ant Financial — and the money transfer industry could soon bear little resemblance to what it looked like just a few years ago.

Kamila Chytil, one of PaymentsSource's Most Influential Women in Payments for 2017, will be at the center of it all. Named MoneyGram's chief global operations officer in May, she'll be responsible for tasks as varied as global servicing, partner integrations, financial paper products, contact centers and strategic operations.

Kamila Chytil, MoneyGram
Kamila Chytil, Chief Global Operations Officer, MoneyGram

Alongside Chytil's own changing role, MoneyGram is poised to become a part of Ant Financial, the payments affiliate of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and the operator of Alipay. Ant has announced plans to acquire MoneyGram for $880 million.

"The combined company will have an expanded global footprint and offer a suite of hybrid solutions that will provide more people around the world access to a reliable financial connection to loved ones," Chytil said. "Together, we will provide greater access, security and simplicity for users around the world."

As big as that sounds, there's more than meets the eye. The deal could wind up in the political crossfire, given Alibaba head Jack Ma's stature in China and the country's potential rivalry with U.S. President Donald Trump, who has promised a trade war with the nation. Even without the drama, Ant's deal is its first major foray into the U.S. market—most earlier moves by Chinese payment players such as Ant and UnionPay to extend beyond China's borders have been focused on short-term travelers.

MoneyGram was already facing major challenges from startups using emerging technology like blockchain to disrupt the transfer market, with companies like Ripple making a splash.

To help guide her company through the time of transition, Chytil, who first joined MoneyGram International in May 2015 as senior vice president of partnerships and payments, will rely on a vision that helps her quickly prioritize.

"[It's important] to have the ability to see the big picture and at the same time zero in on what is truly important in the details to reach objectives," Chytil said. "Many people have one or the other skills, either an attention to detail or strategic thinking."

Staying nimble will also be important. Chytil, who earlier spent 11 years at FIS serving in multiple risk management, analytics and operational roles focusing on traditional financial services and financial inclusion, said her biggest frustration is the amount of time it takes to implement changes in technology.

And with more millennials coming into the workforce,staying current and relevant will also be an important business skill, said Chytil, who still maintains a daily planner. "I write down 'to do's' in it, old school style."

CONTINUE READING: THE MOST INFLUENTIAL WOMEN IN PAYMENTS, 2017