Wachovia Corp.'s top credit card job, which has become one of the most prestigious in the industry, has gone to a woman who became known for her achievements in the very different area of wholesale services.
The executive, Beverly B. Wells, is a 17-year veteran of the company who has headed Wachovia Corporate Services' treasury services group for the past year.
She will be moving from Wachovia headquarters in Winston-Salem, N.C., to become president of the bank card-services division in Atlanta, which under Jerry D. Craft became one of the card industry's most aggressive and profitable operations.
Mr. Craft, who rose to executive vice president of consumer credit services, resigned in May to join First Data Corp., the card and transaction-processing company. He was succeeded by W. Doug King, executive vice president of consumer credit services, to whom Ms. Wells now reports.
Ms. Wells' wholesale background contrasts with what is common in the mass-market card business. Mr. King called her "exceptionally qualified to lead Wachovia's efforts in today's rapidly changing and fiercely competitive credit card industry."
Her previous responsibilities included the marketing of cash management, operational and consulting services, corporate product management, and corporate technology and information services.
"My eagerness to take the job is based on the belief that my skill sets demonstrated and developed in other banking areas will be applicable to the card-services position," she said.
Those skills include the integration of technology and operations processes and the strategies around applying different marketing opportunities, she added.
Ms. Wells, 44, began her career at Wachovia in 1967 as a systems programmer, and spent the last seven years in cash management.
She said the bank's motivation to promote her, rather than hiring someone with credit card experience, stemmed from a desire to leverage different bank businesses off each other.
"I will be able to facilitate bringing multiple divisions together," she said.
Wachovia, with card outstandings of almost $3.7 billion and 3.5 million cardholders, grew into the industry's top 20 by undercutting the competition with an extremely competitive year-long introductory interest rate, now at 7.25%. It increases to a still-low 3.9% over prime after the first year.
Wachovia also has strong branch presences in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
Ms. Wells said the company would like to market products such as mortgages, auto loans, and investment products to its credit card base.
Looking to her transferable skills, Ms. Wells said one of the evolving trends in cash management is the use of credit cards as payment devices.
"My knowledge of cash management and the bank's expertise in the card area will provide opportunities to use the card in our cash-management product line," Ms. Wells said.
Although she said the bank was constantly looking at competitive situations and creating new strategies, she has no immediate plans to make changes in the credit card division.
"They've been very successful," she said. "I'm just going to be joining their team."