Visa's hiring of former JPMorgan Chase executive Ryan McInerney to be its new president maintains the card network's bond with the top-tier bank.
JPMorgan Chase revealed plans three months ago to launch a Visa-powered Chase Merchant Services payments platform by the end of the year. McInerney joins Visa just six months after Charlie Scharf, another former Chase executive, became Visa's chief executive.
Visa's connections with Chase, from its top executives to the merchant services deal, represent a good-news, bad-news scenario for the card brand, says Gil Luria, an analyst with Los Angeles-based Wedbush Securities.
"The good news is that Visa's strong performance has a lot to do with Chase's strong performance," Luria says.
The bad news is that, at some point, the other big banks may perceive Visa as too aligned with Chase, Luria says.
McInerney dismissed such concerns. "You can ask anyone at Chase about what I have done in the past, in delivering great relationships with clients, and that's exactly what I hope to do at Visa," McInerney says.
Understanding what a client needs to develop a business and then using all of Visa's resources to help provide it will be a key process, McInerney adds.
At the launch of the Visa-Chase Merchant Services partnership, industry analysts viewed the deal as potentially signaling a new paradigm in the payments industry, one in which the issuer begins to wield as much, or more, power than the card network.
McInerney declined to comment about whether the Chase program could serve as a model for other large banks, saying he was "not in a position" to speculate on such topics on the same day Visa announced his role as president.
Other big banks may desire a similar position of power in a closer relationship with Visa, Luria says.
McInerney faces many other challenges in his new job.
Part of his role as president will be to help guide a new Global Solutions Group for Visa, which will focus on building and bringing to market new products and services to Visa's issuers, acquirers and merchants.
With the EMV chip-card migration in the U.S. underway and mobile technology advancements booming, the new solutions group and its new leader, Elizabeth Buse, will be vital to the card network, McInerney says.
The migration serves as a good example of the type of opportunity Visa will have to bring together merchants, issuers and other stakeholders, he says.
"Elizabeth is a fabulous person to lead this new group, helping all of our clients and making sure we are delivering the technology and other products they need," he adds.
Buse was previously Visa's group president for Asia, Central Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In addition to steering the new solutions group, Buse will also be responsible for CyberSource, a data security organization under Visa's umbrella, and expanding its merchant sales.
McInerney, who replaces retired Visa president John Partridge, will report to CEO Scharf, who also replaced a retiring Visa exec when he took the position left open by former CEO Joseph Saunders in late October.
McInerney's old job as Chase's CEO of consumer banking will be filled by Barry Sommers, someone he has known for years.
"Barry Sommers is a good partner and a close friend," McInerney says. "I look forward to working with him as we move into our new positions. He has been a great leader and is well-positioned for his new role."