Visa unexpectedly announced the resignation of CEO Charlie Scharf, making way for longtime Amex executive Alfred F. Kelly, Jr., a current board member, to take over the role effective Dec. 1.

Scharf, 51, cited difficulties in continuing to perform his job while balancing family responsibilities on both coasts, telling Visa's board that running a San Francisco-based company "just doesn't work for me personally right now," according to an Oct. 17 press release from Visa.

Kelly, 57, this year took over as president and CEO of New York-based Intersection Co., a technology and media company. He previously spent 23 years at American Express Co. in a variety of roles, ultimately rising to president.

Visa's senior management team has worked closely with Kelly, enabling him to "step in quickly without missing a beat," Scharf said in the release. Scharf said he will serve as an adviser to Kelly beginning Dec. 1 for several months.

"I am extremely excited and honored to take on this role and build on Charlie's work and that of all the employees at Visa," Kelly said.

Scharf, who started his financial services career as an assistant to JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon, was named Visa's CEO in October 2012, succeeding Joseph Saunders, who retired in 2011 at age 66.

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