James F. Partridge, president of Visa's Latin America and Caribbean region, said he will retire June 30.
Mr. Partridge, 69, is Visa's longest-serving regional president, having held his post since 1980. After retirement he will retain his seat on the Latin America/Caribbean region's board of directors.
Jonathan Sanchez-Jaimes, executive vice president, was named Mr. Partridge's successor. Mr. Sanchez-Jaimes, 38, joined Visa two years ago and has been viewed as the likely heir to the position.
He previously worked at Boston Consulting Group, where he was a consultant to Visa. Earlier in his career he spent 11 years at Aetna Insurance Co.
Mr. Sanchez-Jaimes holds a law degree and a master's of business administration, both from Harvard University.
The executive change was announced Thursday at Visa's Latin America/Caribbean regional board meeting in New Orleans.
"This has been a tough decision," Mr. Partridge said. "However, I consider this an active retirement, as my new responsibilities will allow me to still work closely with Visa at both regional and international levels."
Malcolm Williamson, chief executive officer of Visa International, called Mr. Partridge as "one of the true visionaries in this industry."
For the past eight years, Latin America/Caribbean has been the fastest- growing of Visa's six regions, reaching $108 billion in sales volume last year. Many of the products Visa develops are first tested and implemented in the region.
During Mr. Partridge's reign the region "has been at the forefront of some of this industry's most exciting innovations," Mr. Williamson said.