Advanta Corp. has promoted James W. John to president of Advanta International, a role that calls upon his experience from MasterCard International.
The appointment, announced last week, fills a position that opened in October, when James Allhusen was named president of Advanta's credit card unit.
In his new position, Mr. Allhusen, 47, is in charge of domestic and international projects. Mr. John, 46, will report to Mr. Allhusen. They will both work at the company's new Spring House, Pa., headquarters.
Before joining Advanta, the nation's eighth-largest issuer of MasterCard and Visa cards, two years ago, Mr. John developed business opportunities in Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean as a MasterCard executive vice president.
The formation of Advanta's international division was still in the discussion stage, but a year later Advanta formed a partnership with Royal Bank of Scotland to issue low-rate cards in the United Kingdom. Ian Clink heads the RBS Advanta venture in Edinburgh.
Mr. John "is stepping in at a critical point, when a number of potential markets beyond the United Kingdom have been identified but the challenging work of actually launching products in them lies ahead," Mr. Allhusen said in a press release.
"Advanta will continue to be opportunistic, and I intend to move forward in the direction that Jim has been taking," said Mr. John in a telephone interview.
"It doesn't make sense for Advanta to be in every market," he added.
As senior vice president of corporate administration, Mr. John has been responsible for functions including advertising and corporate communications.
"Jim is an extremely qualified person who understands the marketing side of the credit card business," said A. Christian Fredrick, managing director of financial services for Dove Associates Inc. in Boston.
Mr. John said Advanta will be looking for partners with experience it lacks to move it into new markets.
Mr. Fredrick, a former MasterCard executive, said it is a safer strategy to seek a partner than to go it alone, despite the necessary sharing of profits.
"We are pleased with the performance of our card product in the U.K.," said Phyllis Hoffman, spokeswoman for Advanta.
Advanta would not reveal the number of cardholders in its U.K. program. It added a gold card to its portfolio in September.
Despite Advanta's established presence in the United Kingdom, foreign markets are a challenge for any credit card company, said Mr. Fredrick.
"Some of the tricks, such as balance transfers, may not transfer to a foreign market," he said. "What I think we will see is financial institutions using multiple strategies in international markets."