Banc One Corp. credit card veteran Mark K. Tonnesen is joining Royal Bank of Canada.

Mr. Tonnesen, most recently senior vice president of Banc One with responsibility for electronic delivery strategies, will oversee the largest Visa program in Canada.

Royal Bank, also the biggest Canadian bank in total assets, is in the forefront of smart card technology, which is one of the reasons it was attracted to Mr. Tonnesen.

"We are relying on Mark for his deep knowledge of technology," said Graeme Harris, a spokesman for Toronto-based Royal Bank.

Since last April, Mr. Tonnesen, 45, was in charge of technology developments such as home banking and electronic commerce.

He had spent six of his 10 years with Banc One focused on credit cards. He was president of Banc One's card services subsidiary for three years.

He moved in the high-technology direction because "I thought the bank needed to create a secure position for its long-term future," he said.

One of Mr. Tonnesen's assignments in his new job will be to guide Royal Bank's participation in the Mondex smart card pilot launched this week in Guelph, Ontario.

Royal Bank and Canada's second-largest bank, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, are founding members of Mondex International. Hongkong Bank of Canada also supports Mondex, and a member of Credit Union Central of Canada is taking part in the Guelph test.

Mr. Tonnesen, whose appointment takes effect Feb. 24, said he relishes the opportunity to become more involved in smart card systems.

"With fewer financial institutions in Canada and a greater focus on the electronic world, I think we'll be able to do more in the broad world of smart card technology," he said.

Mr. Tonnesen's position is a new one. Robert Juneau, who was in charge of Royal Bank's card business, will be head of systems and technology.

Mr. Tonnesen will report to one of the bank's five vice chairmen, Robert Sutherland.

Royal Bank has 5.5 million cardholders, who generated $16 billion in transaction volume last year.

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