Robert A. Marshall, who built the team that led Advanta Corp. from obscurity to leadership in the credit card industry, has given up the job.
James J. Allhusen, 47, has taken over as president of Advanta personal payment systems. Mr. Marshall, 55, will remain an adviser until yearend, when he will retire, the company said.
Since Mr. Marshall joined the company, nine years ago, it has grown from $500 million to $12.7 billion in card outstandings.
Observers said the promotion of Mr. Allhusen reflects a change in Advanta's strategic position as it seeks new opportunities in international and domestic markets.
Anat Bird, chief operating officer of Roosevelt Financial Group in St. Louis, came to know Advanta in her previous role as a consultant.
"Bob Marshall built the credit card foundation for the company, and he developed the data base and data mining capabilities for which they are known," she said. "Jim will reflect the expansion of the original value proposition."
Frank Caruana, director of marketing systems, Danielian Consulting Group, Scottsdale, Ariz., and a former Advanta executive, said Mr. Marshall was the driving force behind Advanta's success.
The Horsham, Pa.-based company has been expanding into auto insurance, home mortgages, and leasing. It recently formed an information services unit and a joint venture with the Royal Bank of Scotland to offer low-rate credit cards in the United Kingdom.
Last year, Mr. Allhusen was brought on board as executive vice president on the international side of Advanta's credit card business. He will now be in charge of both international and domestic activities.
"When I came a year ago, there was an interest in expanding beyond the United Kingdom," Mr. Allhusen said. "We were looking to Europe, Latin America, and Asia, and we are in discussion about credit cards and other opportunities to apply data mining and targeting skills."
Mr. Allhusen will report to the company's top executives: chairman Dennis Alter, chief executive officer Alex W. Hart, chief operating officer Richard Greenawalt, and vice chairman William A. Rosoff.
With a spate of hires from the outside in the last few years, Advanta has beefed up its senior management to focus on growth.
Earlier this month, William J. Razzouk, a former America Online and Federal Express executive, was named chief executive officer of the new Advanta Information Services subsidiary. It will seek out nonfinancial, information-based consumer service opportunities.
Mr. Allhusen has extensive international experience. He worked five and a half years as a senior executive for Standard Chartered Bank in Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates, and Singapore.
He is not planning any radical strategic changes because, he said, the business has done "extremely well over the last nine years."
"I'm very pleased to join the team Bob has put together," Mr. Allhusen added. "It's a great mix of people with a variety of backgrounds, a team that will take this business on a broader scale than its past."
The eighth-largest credit card issuer, Advanta derives 75% to 80% of its revenues from the domestic card base.