Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Unable to spend adequate time at the company’s San Francisco headquarters, Visa CEO Charlie Scharf will step down from his post as the head of the payments company effective Dec. 1, according to the company.
The announcement on Monday surprised analysts, as the relatively young CEO has overseen a generally successful period at the company, including the company’s share value growing more than 130 percent while he was in charge.
Visa said that its board had selected Alfred Kelly, a current member of its board and a former president of American Express, to take on the role being vacated by Scharf.
While Scharf did not elaborate in great detail on his motivation to leave, he was quoted in the company’s announcement as saying that “running a San Francisco based company just doesn’t work for me personally right now and wouldn’t be fair to Visa.”
In a note to investors on Monday, analysts with Deutsche Bank said: “Although, the announcement came as a surprise to us, it appears Charlie needs to spend more time with his family on the East Coast.”
The analysts, Bryan Keane, Ashish Sabadra and Korey Marcello, noted that the board’s search process — which began when Scharf notified it “of his preliminary decision in mid-Sep 2016” — was “a relatively short time for a traditional CEO search” for a company of Visa’s stature.
However, they said “early feedback is that [Kelly] was well regarded” at American Express, and they expect the company to continue growing at a steady clip.
The company said that Kelly would join Visa on Oct. 31 as CEO-designate, and that Scharf would work in an advisory role “for several months” after Kelly takes the reins on the Dec. 1.
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