Visa Loses Strategic Planning Group Chief to First Data
Fickenscher, Lisa, American Banker
Scott Loftesness, a senior executive at Visa International who was recently named head of a new strategic group, has left the association to join First Data Corp.
Mr. Loftesness, 47, becomes executive vice president of product and service management in First Data's electronic funds services group, which was organized earlier this year by another former Visa executive, Roger Peirce.
Mr. Loftesness' departure, within weeks of his promotion at Visa, surprised his former colleagues there. However, Mr. Peirce, who recruited Mr. Loftesness to San Francisco-based Visa in 1985, said he knew his friend was "really misplaced."
"Scott likes things more tangible and having line responsibility," said Mr. Peirce. "He didn't care for the direction his new job was taking him in."
In April, Visa International's president and chief executive, Edmund P. Jensen, announced that he had put Mr. Loftesness in charge of a group called advanced payment system strategies.
The newly formed unit is responsible for defining technologies and strategies and identifying areas of the payment business in which Visa should be involved over the next five to 10 years.
Mr. Loftesness admitted he was not right for the job.
"On one level I guess I had the perfect job, thinking about Visa over the next decade," said Mr. Loftesness. But he added, "I didn't appreciate the long-term" aspects of such a role.
Mr. Loftesness described himself as one who enjoys strategic thinking, but he also desires day-to-day involvement and results.
Weighing options about the future of payment systems, he said, "has no reality today. It is interesting cocktail conversation."
In his new role at First Data, Mr. Loftesness is responsible for evaluating and pricing products and services to ensure that they are competitive.
Mr. Peirce described Mr. Loftesness' job as "the heart and soul" of First Data.
The electronic funds services group was formed at the start of this year with Mr. …