Visa chief executive Joseph Saunders is retiring on November 1, the world’s largest payments network said today.

He will be replaced by longtime JPMorgan Chase executive Charles W. Scharf, who had been one of the rumored frontrunners for the job. Scharf is currently managing director of an investment unit at JPMorgan and had previously run its retail financial services business. A former Visa board member, Scharf will also rejoin the board on November 1.

Saunders will remain Visa’s executive chairman until March 2013, at which point the board “intends to appoint a new non-executive independent chairperson,” Visa said Oct. 24.

Saunders joined Visa in 2007 to take it through its record-breaking initial public offering in early 2008. He formerly ran Providian, the subprime credit card lender Washington Mutual bought in 2005. (JPMorgan Chase eventually acquired most of those legacy assets when it bought the failed WaMu’s operations during the financial crisis.)

The timing of Saunders’ retirement was first reported this month by the Wall Street Journal, which named Scharf and Visa executive Elizabeth Buse as the most likely successors.

Saunders leaves behind a company that still dominates the payments industry, but is weathering the effects of increasing regulation and legal challenges to how Visa and its competitors set the prices that merchants must pay to accept credit and debit cards.

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