Keith Floen, head of the Credit Union National Association's troubled credit card subsidiary, resigned Thursday after 11 years at the helm.
Greg Moser, acting executive vice president for CUNA's CSG Card Services, will assume day-to-day operations of the unit.
The subsidiary has been plagued with losses in recent years, exacerbated by management upheaval and contracting blunders.
The unit, with $5.5 billion of receivables and more than five million accounts, lost more than $3.9 million in 1995 and is projected to lose money this year and next as it struggles to restructure itself. CUNA officials hope to spin off at least part of the company to credit unions directly and recapitalize the unit, which is now owned by a for-profit CUNA subsidiary.
A CUNA statement said that Mr. Floen had approached Mr. Moser earlier in the week about his desire to go elsewhere.
"Keith was ready for new challenges," Mr. Moser said.
"While my mind will soon be engaged elsewhere, a part of my heart will always remain with the credit union system," Mr. Floen said.
Mr. Floen's departure comes on the eve of a report, due Feb. 10, that could greatly influence the future of CUNA's card effort. Specifically, CUNA might spin off parts of the credit card unit - such as a homebanking project - to other divisions of its parent CUNA Service Group.
"There is the possibility that we might do things differently," said Peter Crear, acting president of the Madison, Wis., trade group.
If functions are spun off from the Card Services division - the variety of its offerings had led some industry observers to say it was overambitious - a planned capitalization effort would be postponed until the third quarter.
"By that time we should have a good sense of what we would need for a cards operation," Mr. Crear said.
Since last year, Card Services has discussed a capitalization plan to fund new lines of business and a new building. It was supposed to have been capitalized last year, but was postponed because of higher-than-expected losses at Card Services.
The association on Jan. 1 hired the Maryland-based firm First Annapolis Consulting to review the business plans and structure of the trade group's Card Services division.
"It's awfully important for us to see the consultant's report," he added.
Terrence O'Hara contributed to this story.