Whenever he is asked to reflect on his tenure at MasterCard International Inc., H. Eugene Lockhart takes himself back to his first board meeting.

It was March 1994, within days of his move from First Manhattan Consulting Group to become the card association's fifth president. A proposal was on the table to adopt smart card technology. Staff people assumed it would sail through, as it had several months before at a meeting of MasterCard's European affiliate, Europay International.

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