MasterCard International Inc. president H. Eugene Lockhart has reached outside the credit card community to fill a top administrative post.
William I Jacobs started 10 days ago in a newly created job - executive vice president of global resources - with an extensive portfolio of financial and other staff functions.
But Mr. Jacobs is no mere office manager or bean counter. He has an entrepreneurial background that he said will serve him and MasterCard well as they prepare for structural and financial challenges.
"My background is profit-center, not association," Mr. Jacobs said last week, emphasizing the contrast with MasterCard's not-for-profit structure.
"I have created and sold companies and built businesses. That's one of the things that made Gene interested in me."
Mr. Lockhart, who became chief executive officer of MasterCard about 10 months ago, has been recasting and streamlining his top management. Other key recruits include Jerry McElhatton, who consolidated oversight of global technology, and Andrew Selander, president of both the Europe-Middle East- Africa and Canada regions.
Similarly, Mr. Jacobs is taking on multiple responsibilities, most of which previously reported directly to the CEO. They range from administration and finance to auditing and corporate communications.
Mr. Jacobs' view of his new world is clearly in concert with Mr. Lockhart's strategic vision.
"These are mostly staff functions, yes, but the financial side is a real driver of where MasterCard will be able to go in the future," Mr. Jacobs said.
"The corporate finance piece is a key responsibility," he added, because as MasterCard grows it will need to align itself for the move into new products that will require financing."
Mr. Lockhart, his board, and his brain trust have only begun to explore the needs and implications of such "creative financing," but he has suggested that some MasterCard endeavors may evolve into stand-alone, even spinoff, enterprises.
Mr. Jacobs, 53, has what it takes to manage innovation and complexity. The future aside, multinational, member-owned MasterCard, with its mix of dues and service income, is by definition a financial management challenge. The association reported $540 million of revenue and a small surplus in 1993.
Equipped with bachelor's and law degrees from American University - of which he is now a trustee - Mr. Jacobs spent 30 years in various aspects of financial services, including lending stints at Citibank and Manufacturers Hanover Trust Co. of New York.
In 1985, he co-founded Financial Security Assurance Inc., a leading bond insurer. After selling the company to U S West in 1989, he stayed on as chief operating officer. Before joining MasterCard, he took an extended vacation to enjoy the rewards of "selling a company to one of the Fortune 500."
The recharged batteries are sure to be tested. He vows to see MasterCard's move of corporate headquarters from Manhattan to suburban Purchase, N.Y., completed "within the time frame (October 1995) and under budget."
Mr. Jacobs lives in Peekskill, N.Y., an easier commute to Purchase than to the city. He seems inclined to use whatever time he saves to do some big-picture thinking.
"MasterCard has more than 300 million cardholders and serves 12 million merchants around the world," he said. "In many respects, this is a technology-driven business, and it is one of the most recognizable names around the world.
"There are going to be a few major players" that survive in global financial services, he added. "My ultimate responsibility is to make sure MasterCard is one of those people."
Also last week, MasterCard announced that Tim Malloy, an independent consultant and former Visa employee, had been named senior vice president of strategic planning for the Asia-Pacific region in Singapore.
James A. Cassin, president of the region, said Mr. Malloy would spend half his time as a "high-level consultant" to member banks.
Mr. Cassin brought in two other senior vice presidents last year: Brian Thom, formerly of Citicorp and American Express, as head of marketing, and Donald Van Stone, formerly of First Chicago Corp., as general manager for Southeast Asia.