Visa International has hired an executive with extensive international experience to head its product-development group.

Francois Dutray was named group executive vice president for product development last week. He will report to Wesley C. Tallman, president of the products and information-services group.

Mr. Dutray, 51, rounds out Mr. Tallman's management team. He will also serve with Mr. Tallman on the management executive committee, which includes payment systems chief William L. Chenevich and the regional chief executive officers who report to Visa International president Edmund P. Jensen.

Mr. Jensen formed the top-level committee after he took the CEO job in early 1994.

Visa said it had been looking to fill the product-development position for a year. The idea, a spokeswoman said, was to bring a non-U.S. perspective to what is a global organization with U.S. headquarters.

Prior to joining Visa, Mr. Dutray was deputy managing director of Sligos, a French company that has a role in credit card processing, chip card manufacturing, and software development for banks and other companies.

At Visa, he will identify new-product opportunities, technologies, and applications; seek to drive growth through acquisitions, partnerships, and other ventures; and integrate new products into the overall organization.

He will oversee credit, deposit access and cash products, information and processing services, and point of transaction operations.

"I think what I have is an international background and what I can bring to Visa is a view which is a little different from a complete only-U.S. view of the situation," Mr. Dutray said.

"This factor is important," he continued, "because as Visa is changing it must bring some technical skill, diversity, and expertise in some areas outside of banking that could help Visa adapt to change."

At Sligos, Mr. Dutray was president of 12 different subsidiaries throughout Europe.

He said, "This is something I can bring to Visa - how to listen to regions, understand what differences they have, and integrate all of those things into the product strategy of Visa all over the world."

Before working at Sligos, Mr. Dutray was vice president of corporate development at Bull, the big computer company. He began his career with Thomson CSF, in France and India, as a development engineer. He has a graduate degree in electrical engineering and an undergraduate degree in mathematics. He speaks fluent French and English, and understands Spanish and Italian.

"Francois brings an aggressive and dynamic background as a strategist, and international business expertise to Visa," said Mr. Tallman.

"His in-depth market expertise and continental perspective, resulting from work experience in France, India, and the United States, will engender a spirit of interaction between our regions, as Visa continues its global expansion."

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