AT&T Corp. said Monday that it has hired Richard J. Srednicki from Citicorp to head its credit card business.
As president and chief executive officer of AT&T Universal Card Services in Jacksonville, Fla., Mr. Srednicki will succeed David K. Hunt, who left in November after a steady rise in delinquencies and chargeoffs.
Mr. Hunt, it was also announced Monday, has been named president and CEO of Global Payment Systems, a transaction processing company formed this year by National Data Corp. and MasterCard International.
Mr. Srednicki, 49, will join AT&T Jan. 22, ending a three-year stint as head of the Citibank branch system in Germany. He had also been marketing director and general manager of Citicorp's MasterCard and Visa business when it launched the American Airlines and Ford cobranded cards.
With $13 billion of receivables, AT&T Universal ranks eighth among card lenders. But the operation has suffered from lower-than-average loan balances per account and a recent decline in credit quality.
"Although increased delinquencies have temporarily hurt UCS, as the company has acknowledged, I believe UCS and AT&T have an outstanding future," Mr. Srednicki said in a prepared statement.
AT&T said its July 31 delinquency and chargeoff rates were 3.9% and 6.15%, respectively. These rates had climbed from 3.52% and 4.76% last Dec. 31.
K. Shelly Porges, CEO of Porges/Hudson Marketing in San Francisco, said it is strange that delinquencies are so high for a company with so many customers who pay off their balances immediately.
"Whatever risk policies they were using were really ineffective," she said.
Mr. Srednicki will report to AT&T president John Walter. AT&T said the executive will participate in "cross-unit business and marketing decisions," which could link the card to long-distance and local phone service, wireless and on-line businesses, and electronic commerce. (AT&T Universal is a part owner of the Mondex USA smart card franchise.)
"I was particularly impressed with what Rich has done for Citibank in Germany," said Mr. Walter, "driving different parts of the bank's consumer and corporate businesses to work more closely together to gain synergies and improve cost-effectiveness and market share. I'm looking to him to help exercise that formula for success here."
James Shanahan, a partner in Business Dynamics Consulting, Nyack, N.Y., called Mr. Srednicki "a hard-driving, aggressive business manager - sort of your prototypical Citibank person."
Mr. Hunt, 50, is to join Global Payment Systems Jan. 1 in Atlanta. Robert Yellowlees, National Data and Global chairman, described him as "a proven executive with extensive experience in the payment systems and banking industries."
He had joined AT&T in 1993 from Signet Banking Corp., Richmond, Va., and was a U.S. director of MasterCard.