Square’s leadership exodus continues as payments chief leaves for Visa

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Square just found a replacement for high-profile CFO Sarah Friar but is facing another big hole in its leadership team as head of payments Mary Kay Bowman leaves for Visa.

Bowman will be head of seller solutions at Visa, where she will lead design, development and delivery of services that will “transform the payment experience for both sellers and consumers,” Visa said in its announcement, adding this work is critical as the point of sale shifts from payment acceptance to digital cross-channel payment experiences.

Visa has reported a dramatic migration toward contactless and digital transactions, which create opportunities to build marketing and ancillary services on top of payments, but also pose challenges since this migration is not exclusive to Visa and thus attracts mobile-driven competitors.

As this trend accelerates and alternative merchant acquirers continue to diversify, Visa will likely expand its token service to attract cross-channel partners and continue to push its “buy button,” a Visa/Mastercard-driven initiative to create a single experience for digital commerce.

Square has also been diversifying to stake out a position in a rapidly evolving merchant acquiring market, but is presently faced with the loss of two people in leadership roles. Square hired Bowman in 2015, a move that was considered a coup for Square since Bowman had helped run Amazon Local Register, the e-commerce giant’s effort to counter Square’s mobile point of sale business.

Square also recently lost Friar, considered one of CEO Jack Dorsey’s top lieutenants. Square earlier this month hired former Activision exec Amrita Ahuja to replace Friar, who took a job as CEO of Nextdoor.

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Mobile point-of-sale Alternative acquirers Square Visa