Swift, the Brussels-based global bank communications network, said it would make several top-level executive changes.
Eric Chilton, a former executive at Barclays Bank PLC, London, and chairman of Swift - the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication - plans to retire in June after four years at the post, Swift officials said.
Taking his place will be Jean-Marie Weydert, who currently is deputy chairman.
Mr. Weydert is head of international banking at Societe Generale Group, Paris, and is an adviser to the bank's chairman, Marc Vienot.
Yawar Shah, one of two U.S. representatives on Swift's board of directors, will become deputy chairman. Mr. Shah is a senior vice president and deputy general manager of global payments and treasury services at Chase Manhattan Corp. The 36-year-old native of Pakistan is among the youngest bankers to be named to such a high post at Swift.
He will hold the No. 2 spot behind Mr. Weydert. The changes will be finalized during Swift's annual shareholder meeting in June.
"It's been a great four years at Swift," said Mr. Shah, referring to Mr. Chilton's term as chairman.
"Eric's greatest contribution has been his leadership," Mr. Shah said. "We want to continue his work at leveraging Swift as a strategic resource for banks."
Swift is a bank-owned cooperative that provides communications services and software to more than 5,200 financial institutions in 137 countries.
The Swift network processed over 600 million messages last year. The daily dollar value of payments on the network averaged more than $2 trillion.
Mr. Shah will retain his membership as a U.S. delegate on the 25-member board. The other U.S. representative on the Swift board was Hy Silkes, a former vice president at Citicorp, New York.
Mr. Silkes retired earlier this year and will be replaced by Richard Genin, 54, an executive vice president at the Bank of New York.
Leonard Schrank, Swift's chief executive, described Mr. Genin's appointment as a "big win" because of his expertise in the securities realm.
Mr. Genin is a member of the Senior Securities Executive Advisory Committee, a group that represents the securities industry's interests during Swift policymaking sessions.
In recent years, Swift has been actively pursuing securities-related transactions, the 22-year-old network's fastest growing category.
"The Swift board has a lot of bank payments expertise, but very little in securities, so this shows the importance of this market," Mr. Schrank said.
Mr. Schrank described Mr. Shah as "the peacemaker," who excels at "bringing all sides together.
"He doesn't just get a consensus, he gets a solution."
His leadership, diplomacy, and industry experience will surely be tested as Swift's board continues to grapple with defining the network's role, said a senior official, who asked not to be identified.
Swift's board consists of bankers who must walk a fine line between the good of the network and the interests of its bank owners. Thus, if Swift continues to grow, it may do so at the expense of its banks owners, said the official.
But Mr. Schrank said otherwise. "We are member driven; Swift will do nothing to grow at the expense of banks," he said. He said the network "adds value to our shareholders," in ways that do not compete with its owners.
He noted that Swift, with its systems expertise, global reach, and abilities to standardize and automate, can help banks become more efficient in streamlining payment services.
"We think we can save global banks tens of millions of dollars on their bottom lines in terms of cost reduction, risk reduction, and service improvement," Mr. Schrank said.