Kathryn V. Marinello has been named president and chief executive officer of Signature Group, a marketing services company that GE Financial Assurance bought last week from Montgomery Ward & Co.

Signature, based in Schaumburg, Ill., provides enhancement programs, such as dental and legal plans and travel services, to card lenders.

The company had been on the block for nearly a year, and several senior executives had quit. Ms. Marinello succeeded Worth Linen, who left "some time ago," said Mike Kachel, a spokesman for GE Financial Assurance, a GE Capital affiliate in Richmond, Va.

Ms. Marinello's experience is in credit card issuing and merchant processing. She has held senior positions at a number of large credit card businesses.

The last, hers since December 1998, was executive vice president of GE Capital Card Services. GE Capital has now left the consumer card business, handing off $2.2 billion of receivables to Bank One Corp.'s First USA card unit.

Earlier Ms. Marinello was president of GE Capital Consumer Financial Services for two years. Before that she did a two-year stint as president of First Data Corp.'s debit and commercial card group.

"Kathryn is the kind of employee that you know you can't hold on to- because she is so good," said Lou Morales, who reported to her at First Data.

It was Mr. Morales who hired her at the beginning of her banking career, 17 years ago, at Barclays Bank in New York. She later became the president of a credit card services subsidiary of U.S. Bank Minneapolis.

Mr. Kachel, the GE Financial Assurance spokesman, said Signature will continue to service its programs, which reach 13 million customers. It will also run market membership programs for customers of GE Financial Assurance, a unit that offers mutual funds, life and auto insurance, annuities, and other financial products.

Ms. Marinello declined to be interviewed for this article.

"She is creative and innovative and has the ability to inspire teams to accomplish things that haven't been done before," said John C. Cahill, president and chief executive officer of FirsTel USA in Atlanta. Mr. Cahill worked with Ms. Marinello at First Data, where he was in charge of marketing.

SALT LAKE CITY-GE Capital Financial Inc. and Hitachi Credit Corp. have signed a deal to collaborate on yen-denominated MasterCard corporate charge cards.

Their targeted customers are multinational corporations with operations in Japan. Hitachi will provide the cards, Japanese-language statements, and other in-country cardholder services. GE Capital said it will serve as "the primary contact for corporations taking advantage of the program."

Hitachi will provide card transaction data in a format that allows it to be consolidated with transactions from other countries on GE Capital's Synergy 200O reporting system. Consolidation of global data gives companies a better understanding of how their travel dollars are spent, according to GE Capital.

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