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Visa Taps Nordstrom Executive To Lead Cards Business

By Andrew R. Johnson Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- Visa Inc. (V) has hired former Nordstrom Inc. (JWN) executive Kevin Knight to head the payment processor's credit- and debit-products business in North America. The San Francisco-based company said Wednesday that Knight will oversee "development and growth of Visa's consumer credit, debit and small business product suite." Knight previously was president of Nordstrom's credit division and chairman of the retailer's bank subsidiary, overseeing its customer loyalty program and payment processing in its stores. He also worked for General Electric Co. (GE), the largest issuers of private-label credit cards in the U.S., for more than 20 years. Visa, the largest card processor, and competitor MasterCard Inc. (MA) aren't lenders but process transactions for banks that issue their cards and those that work with merchants. Knight's appointment comes as Visa is trying to protect its business from new regulations capping how much large banks can charge merchants to accept debit cards by restructuring fees it charges clients. Visa is also pushing into new areas, including mobile and "person-to-person" payments, in an effort to drive more transaction volume over its processing network. Knight's experience working for a retailer and financial institution made him an "ideal choice to fill this role," William Sheedy, group president of Visa's Americas region, said in a statement. Visa's shares were down 0.2% at $119.63. -By Andrew R. Johnson, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-3214;

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