Rita L. Champ, the credit and debit card veteran whom Fujitsu-ICL Systems Inc. has tapped to run its automated teller machine business in the Americas, says her mission will be to develop a long-term strategic plan.
Ms. Champ said she would explore ways Fujitsu could expand its horizons beyond its set of ATM products-possibly into on-line and telephone banking.
Ms. Champ was hired in August as senior vice president and general manager of Fujitsu's financial systems division of Hackensack, N.J., the company announced Tuesday at the Bank Administration Institute's Retail Delivery '97 conference in New Orleans.
Ms. Champ, 42, is responsible for product development, marketing, and field support for the company's ATMs and cash dispensers, as well as the accompanying software products Fujitsu sells to bank and nonbank ATM deployers.
Ms. Champ said her first steps will be determining what lines of business the company should be in and focusing more sharply on customer needs.
"What I really want to take a look at is a bigger breadth and depth of products and services," she said. "I don't think as an organization we have had as much of an emphasis on consumers, and at the corporate level that is a major goal."
She said she would be looking into "integrated financial system solutions, home banking" to see "what products and services beyond our core competencies we can offer."
Ms. Champ most recently worked at MasterCard International of Purchase, N.Y., where she was vice president of cobranding and affinity marketing.
Her job was to develop concepts and strategies for new cobranded cards, particularly in such fields as travel and entertainment, health care, and petroleum. She also gauged market reaction to cobranded cards, using consumer research and industry analyses.
Ms. Champ said her expertise would bring a "stronger marketing focus" to Fujitsu.
Rod Powell, president of Dallas-based Fujitsu-ICL, said the company was looking for a marketing person when it began recruiting for the position this year. He said Fujitsu was seeking an executive who was experienced in operations, but who also understood consumer behavior.
Mr. Powell said Ms. Champ's "demonstrated success in marketing, strategic planning, and business development are welcome additions."
She succeeded Ron Omohundro, who was promoted to general manager of Fujitsu's newly formed global products group.
Fujitsu-ICL, a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Fujitsu Ltd. of Japan, sold 2,506 ATMs last year.
According to The Nilson Report, a California-based industry newsletter, Fujitsu-ICL ranks fourth in ATM sales in North America, behind Diebold Inc., NCR Corp., and EBS Group Inc.'s Triton line. In South America, Fujitsu ranks seventh, with 104 machines sold in 1996.
Ms. Champ said one priority of her division is to expand its market share.
Ms. Champ said her career in banking began after she graduated from high school in 1973. Her first job was filing credit card drafts and comparing signatures in fraud investigations for a San Diego bank that, after a series of mergers, has subsequently become part of Union Bank of California.
Later, she was asked to develop an ATM business for another San Diego bank, Imperial Savings Association, which has since closed. She ran a three-state ATM network and Visa debit card program for Imperial before leaving to join Star System Inc. in 1984.
At Star, she helped expand the fledgling network, promoting the relatively new ATM concept in consumer education drives and on television and radio talk shows.
"When I was at Star we were very much into consumer research," said Ms. Champ. "That's something I'd like to bring to the table at Fujitsu. It is very important to know your customers' customers so you can help them build a business more profitably."