Visa International named Thomas J. Kappock, a former Bank of Hawaii vice chairman, to a key position in its recently reorganized strategic initiatives and processing services group.

Mr. Kappock, who retired last year from the Honolulu bank and has since served as chief financial officer of Washington Mutual Inc. in Seattle, will be group executive vice president for operations and administration.

Reporting to Wesley C. Tallman, president of strategic initiatives and processing services, Mr. Kappock fills a post that was created in mid- August when Visa International unveiled a management matrix that marked a radical departure from Mr. Tallman's previous products and systems structure.

Mr. Kappock will supervise four functions - applications development, processing and network services, quality assurance, and program management - that are critical to Visa's day-to-day operations and the execution of strategies and product initiatives.

The executive, who will be moving to Visa's San Francisco base later this month, will rank equally in Mr. Tallman's group with William Chenevich, overseeing business and technology strategy, and Francois Dutray, head of initiatives management.

With a long banking career around the Pacific Rim that included service on the Visa U.S.A. board, Mr. Kappock has a resume similar to that of Visa International president Edmund P. Jensen.

"We have laughed about that," Mr. Kappock said last week.

Both grew up in Hawaii. Mr. Jensen was vice chairman of U.S. Bancorp, Portland, Ore., and a Visa board member before becoming chief executive in early 1994.

Mr. Kappock, in fact, has the strong banking credentials card associations seek in their CEOs, though there are no indications succession planning is yet top-of-mind for Mr. Jensen, at age 59.

Besides Mr. Kappock, 52, and the others at the top of Mr. Tallman's organization, Visa has six well-qualified regional chief executives, including Visa U.S.A president Carl Pascarella. Mr. Pascarella, 52, worked for several banks and spent 10 years as head of Visa's Asia-Pacific region.

Mr. Kappock said he intends to stay at Visa for the long haul.

"This is the second job change I've made in my life, and I don't want to make any more," he said. "There is so much going on at Visa, it will be a thrill a minute. I could see this easily being a 10- or 15-year ride."

Mr. Jensen said Mr. Kappock's "association with Visa combined with his extensive banking background and significant achievements complement our strategic initiatives."

"A lot of what Ed and Wes are trying to achieve has to do with trust and teamwork," Mr. Kappock said. "It helps a lot that we've worked together in the past."

Mr. Jensen said Mr. Kappock would bring "the proper mix of technical expertise, business savvy, strategic counsel, and implementation and management skills."

Mr. Kappock agreed that his commercial background could contribute to Visa's becoming "more corporation-like and less association-like."

Mr. Kappock made his mark over 23 years at the flagship unit of $14 billion-asset Bancorp Hawaii. Under his direction, Bank of Hawaii, the biggest in the state, brought client/server automation to its 102-branch retail operation, introduced Visa and other cards to supermarkets, launched Hawaii's first on-line debit card, and increased its automated teller machine network eightfold, generating $7 million of revenue.

Taking an early retirement in June 1995, he said he "went looking for new challenges." Having traveled frequently to the West Coast, he was attracted by the Northwest and jumped at the chance to join Washington Mutual, the fast-growing thrift that agreed in July to acquire American Savings Bank of California for $1.2 billion.

As executive vice president and executive committee member, Mr. Kappock was in charge of investments, treasury, investor and capital-markets relations, accounting and controls, and planning functions.

Washington Mutual chairman Kerry Killinger complimented Mr. Kappock for "many contributions that have helped position the company for the future, including the successful effort to lower interest rate sensitivity.

"We've also benefited from his broad knowledge of commercial banking, as we developed our strategy for small- to midsize-business banking."

His Washington Mutual predecessor, William A. Longbrake, is returning to the job Mr. Kappock is vacating. Mr. Longbrake spent a year and a half as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s chief financial officer.

Mr. Kappock said the coincidence of the Visa opening and Mr. Longbrake's desire to return was "a real win for everybody, with the possible exception of my wife," who must prepare to move for the second year in a row.

"I was very happy" in Seattle, Mr. Kappock said. "The American Savings deal was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

"That just tells you how exciting the opportunity at Visa appeared."

Mr. Kappock was a Visa director for the two years preceding his Bank of Hawaii retirement. He also spent eight years on the board of Visa's ATM affiliate, Plus System Inc.

He was recently selected "outstanding MBA alumnus" of the University of Hawaii, where he earned both bachelor's and master's degrees. He also served three and a half years in Japan and Korea with the Air Force, rising to the rank of captain.

Mr. Kappock rose to vice chairman at Bank of Hawaii.

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