MasterCard Shuffles Top Execs

NEW YORK - As part of a major reorganization of its top management, MasterCard International has tapped John O. Smith, president of its Cirrus ATM network, to head a new debit services group.

Mr. Smith, 51, a longtime colleague and protege of MasterCard chief executive Alex W. Hart, will be responsible for Cirrus; MasterDebit, the national debit venture; and Maestro, the international debit program.

In the Catbird Seat

These businesses are among the fastest growing and most promising at MasterCard. As a result, Mr. Smith is poised to become one of the bank card association's most influential executives.

Mr. Smith's appointment is the most prominent in a series of announcements heralding the biggest management shift at MasterCard since Mr. Hart became chairman and chief executive in 1988. In another key change, Serge J. Robert, the highest-ranking executive on the international side of its business, announced his resignation this week.

Mr. Robert, 56, joined MasterCard in 1985, when then chief executive Russell Hogg hired him away from Credit Agricole, Paris. Mr. Robert's responsibilities had diminished substantially under Mr. Hart. MasterCard has historically functioned with a single international staff reporting to Mr. Robert, but Mr. Hart has sought to decentralize the worldwide organization.

He has carved the association into six distinct regional units and has significantly strengthened MasterCard's relationship with Eurocard International. "We really look to Eurocard now for our European business," said Richard Woods, senior vice president for public affairs. That shift led to a significantly smaller role for Mr. Robert, Mr. Woods said.

Progress in Tandem

Mr. Smith's promotion is the latest in his career progression with Mr. Hart. Only months after leaving First Interstate Bancorp to assume the leadership of MasterCard, Mr. Hart asked Mr. Smith - his colleague at the Los Angeles-based banking company - to head the Cirrus network. At First Interstate, Mr. Smith was responsible for consumer marketing and electronic banking.

He will now move from Cirrus' offices in Downers Grove, Ill., to MasterCard's New York headquarters. At Cirrus, his responsibilities will be assumed by G. Henry Mundt 3d, a MasterCard senior vice president and general manager of Cirrus.

On the international side, Mr. Robert's remaining duties will be divided among Arthur B. Ziegler, a former chairman of MasterCard's board who is taking on responsibility for the Europe, Middle East, and Africa region; and Richard Child, senior vice president in charge of global marketing, who will deal with Latin America and Canada.

More Departures

The organization announced several other departures this week. Darold D. Hoops, senior vice president in charge of the association's electronic services business management unit, resigned after his area was slated to be split up.

Member profitability will move to the member relations department, member rules and policies will join the franchise management department, and security will become part of electronic services. The expanded departments will be headed respectively by Charles W.B. Wardell 3d, F. David Brangaccio, and Philip P. Verdi.

MasterCard is also moving responsibility for calling on financial institutions in the merchant processing business to its member relations area. As a result, Meg Jacobson, the senior vice president in charge MasterCard's acceptance business, has resigned. The organization is seeking a replacement for her.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.