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Joseph Saunders

Executive Chairman & Former CEO of VISA Inc.
  • Former CEO of Providian Financial Corporation – one of the leading credit card issuers in the U.S
  • Prestigious 40-year career in the financial services industry
  • Offers unique insights about leading change, the trends and technology that will affect business strategy, and the global marketplace
Topics & Types
Business Leaders From Major BrandsCEOs

Joseph Saunders is the former chairman and CEO of Visa, one of the world’s largest and most recognizable brands. He is credited with transforming it into one of the most preeminent organizations, and during his tenure, Saunders strengthened Visa’s position as the leading payments technology company. More than $1.2 trillion worth of U.S. transactions were rung up on Visa credit and debit cards in the first six months of 2012, and the company connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions, and governments in more than 200 countries and territories across the globe.

Under his leadership, the company completed the largest initial public offering in U.S. history and had a stellar track record of financial performance. Visa held its IPO during the recession, but, despite harsh economic conditions, its stock price did not sink below its original offering. Saunders also built on Visa’s history of innovation, diversifying and expanding its business and product offerings. Exclusively represented by Leading Authorities speakers bureau, he offers audiences a unique opportunity to hear straightforward, thought-provoking, and impressive stories and insights about leading change, the trends and technology that will affect business strategy in the years ahead, and the global marketplace.

Leading Visa’s Success. When Saunders took the helm at Visa, he successfully combined several independent entities – including operating units in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East – into a single global company. Since the Saunders-led IPO, Visa has had a stellar track record of financial performance. In the midst of the country’s economic challenges, he directed Visa toward strong operational and financial performance, all while delivering excellent results for shareholders. Visa also consistently exceeded analysts’ expectations for each earnings period. The financial community has praised the resilience of the company’s business model, diverse product set, and senior leadership’s ongoing commitment to expense management.

A 40-Year Financial Services Career. Throughout his career, Saunders has held leadership positions within top financial services companies. Before joining Visa, he served as chairman, president, and CEO of Providian Financial Corporation – one of the leading credit card issuers in the U.S. – and oversaw its post-recession turnaround in 2001 and 2002. He worked there until Washington Mutual’s acquisition of the company in 2005 and stayed on until 2007 as president of card services. Before Providian, Saunders was the chairman and CEO of Fleet credit card services at FleetBoston Financial Corporation from 1997–2001.

His career in financial services spans more than 40 years, beginning in 1968 when Saunders embarked on a 16-year career with Continental Illinois Bank, first as an analyst for the methods research group. He worked his way up to vice president of retail banking and head of the credit card business. In 1985, after spending a year at Bank of America as vice president in credit card operations, he joined Household International as vice president, where he was tasked with building its credit card business. At Household, he spent 12 years and held senior roles, including chairman, president, and CEO of card services and head of the private label credit card business.

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Location/Travels from: CA
$35,001 - $55,000*
US East
$35,001 - $55,000*
US West
$35,001 - $55,000*
$55,001 - $75,000*
$55,001 - $75,000*

* This specific fee falls within this range. Ranges are presented as a guideline only. Speaker fees are subject to change without notice.
For an exact quote, please contact your Leading Authorities representative.

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