Lockhart leaves MasterCard to head BankAmerica’s global retail bank
NEW YORK (AP) _ In a surprise move, H. Eugene Lockhart resigned as MasterCard International’s president and chief executive to take a newly created post as president of BankAmerica Corp.’s global retail bank.
For the first time in its 30 years of existence, MasterCard elevated an insider, Robert Selander, to head the company. Selander, 46, had been president of MasterCard’s operations in Canada, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Lockhart, president and chief executive of the Purchase, N.Y., credit-card issuer since 1994, will run the consumer and small business banking areas at BankAmerica now reporting to Vice Chairman Tom Peterson, who is set to retire from the San Francisco-based banking company this year.
BankAmerica has retail bank assets of about $91 billion and more than 2,000 branches in 11 Western states. Other areas of BankAmerica will be assumed by the global retail division as the company consolidates its commercial operations into its retail and wholesale divisions in the ``near future,″ the company said.
Lockhart, who was not available for comment, will report to David A. Coulter, chairman and chief executive of BankAmerica, at the beginning of May.
In a written statement, Lockhart, 47, said: ``As difficult as it is to leave MasterCard, I have no doubt that the organization will flourish under Bob’s leadership.″
Selander, who said he first heard of Lockhart’s decision last Friday, said he believed Lockhart was leaving not over any dissatisfaction at MasterCard, but because he could not pass up the opportunity at BankAmerica.
``It’s one of those jobs of a lifetime, and that’s very much the reason Gene’s going there.″ He added, ``He’s leaving us in great shape.″
Lockhart’s departure from MasterCard comes as the major credit card companies jockey for position in the global and U.S. credit-card and debit-card markets, and the online banking and commerce business.
Last year, MasterCard International bought a controlling stake in Mondex International, a British company developing technology in smart cards, or credit cards embedded with computer chips that can ``store″ electronic cash and other information.
Prior to joining MasterCard, Lockhart was chief executive for U.K. Banking and Group Operations and a board director of Midland Bank, one of the founders of Mondex.
Mondex’s main competitor for the smart card business in the United States is Visa, a bank association of which BankAmerica is a member. BankAmerica has also pioneered smart-card and online banking on its own.
Under Lockhart, MasterCard’s worldwide charge volume grew nearly 40 percent, to $550 billion in 1996 from $398 billion in 1994, said Sean Healy, a MasterCard spokesman. The number of cards in circulation grew 45 percent, to 404 million from 278 million.
In the United States, both MasterCard and Visa are defending complaints by American Express Co. that their policies forbidding their banks from issuing American Express cards are anti-competitive. The matter is the subject of a U.S. Justice Department investigation and several lawsuits.