Visa has elevated former PayPal and Yahoo executive Sam Shrauger to head of digital, part of an internal reorganization at the card network that took place at the end of July, according to an analyst report from Janney.
"[CEO Charlie Scharf] is shaking up the ranks, we're seeing people that are not necessarily 'legacy'," says Thomas McCrohan, managing director of technology and payments at Janney Capital Markets' equity research division, in an interview.
Visa would not confirm changes in its management structure when contacted by PaymentsSource. An Aug. 5 post on Visa's blog, penned by Shrauger, lists his title as "digital for developed markets, Visa Inc."
Shrauger, who was hired in December to be Visa's global head of commercialization, came to the card network from Yahoo, which he joined under former Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson's short-lived tenure. Shrauger was previously an executive at PayPal, where he worked on PayPal's integration of the instant-credit provider BillMeLater, which PayPal bought in 2008.
Since Scharf took over as CEO in October 2012, he has brought in new senior talent and made other changes, and its most recent move is "an effort to accelerate Visa's go-to-market strategy surrounding its V.me digital wallet, a wallet that has been slowly embraced by banks for online e-commerce purchase, but remains virtually non-existent in offline, in-store environments," the research note says.
Janney did not name other executives that affected by the shakeup. The card network recently hired Ryan McInerney from JPMorgan Chase to be Visa's president, an appointment that's expected to help the network build mobile payments technology as well as the EMV migration in the U.S.
Visa unveiled its V.me digital wallet in late 2011, and a year later officially launched it with PNC and about 50 other banks and credit unions. V.me's focus has been on Internet and mobile commerce transactions, with plans to bring it to the point of sale at a later date.
The product's focus on e-commerce pits it against entrenched companies such as PayPal, rather than focusing on the point of sale where Visa is already ubiquitous, says Richard Crone, a payments consultant. "The point of sale market is $6.2 trillion, compared to a $240 billion electronic commerce market," Crone says.
V.me is also a standalone app, which hurts it with issuers, Crone says. "With mobile banking growing five times faster than Internet banking, mobile will be the primary user interface for the majority of banking customers. So it's risky for an issuer to send their customers to someone else's user interface," Crone says.
Other companies, such as Paydiant and Pulse, are moving to place mobile payments behind a bank's mobile brand, Crone says.
"Visa is racing to figure this out quickly because their issuers are moving ahead without them," Crone says.
Scharf recently pushed back at the notion that V.me was falling behind competitors such as the retailer-backed Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), noting V.me has signed up dozens of merchants and banks, while MCX still hasn't launched a product.
Visa move toward in-store digital payments will be helped by its Fandango app, McCrohan says. That app extends special movie offers to Visa Signature cardholders. Visa on August 5 also announced Fandango, Rue La La and Vegas.com had implemented V.me. Visa has signed 72 merchants in the past quarter to V.me, bringing the total to 253, Visa said in an emailed statement.
"The Fandango app is cool, what they want to do is take some of that mobile experience and broaden that out," McCrohan says, adding Shrauger's experience at PayPal could prove helpful. "[Shrauger] knows about ecommerce and how to get new tender types accepted on merchant websites."
In other moves to build its mobile payments muscle, Visa recently signed partnerships with mobile point of sale companies iZettle, SumUp and Swiff, and approved mobile point of sale devices from Anywhere Commerce and Miura Systems. Visa is also an investor in Square.