NEW YORK -- Visa International president Charles T. Russell announced his retirement at a board meeting in Germany, card industry sources said Tuesday.

It was not clear when the retirement would be effective, or who would succeed him, but sources said a promotion was in the offing for executive vice president Wesley C. Tallman.

Although the word was spreading in the United States, Visa spokesman David Brancoli said only that "we have nothing to announce."

Mr. Russell, 63, has been with Visa since 1971 and has been chief executive of the international company since 1984. While his retirement had been anticipated, he had given no public indication of the timing.

He recently had to fill two key jobs in the hierarchy, naming Carl Pascarella as Visa U.S.A. president, succeeding H. Robert Heller, who resigned; and Lindsay Pyne as president of the Asia-Pacific region, succeeding Mr. Pascarella.

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