10 Things You Didn’t Know about Visa CEO Alfred F. Kelly, Jr

Alfred F. Kelly, Jr. is an experienced executive. Currently, he is serving as the CEO of Visa Inc. However, this is far from being his first such position, seeing as how he has been a senior leader at other companies in finance, travel, and even consumer products. Here are 10 things that you may or may not have known about Alfred F. Kelly, Jr.?

1. Alfred Comes from Germanic

Alfred is a name that has seen a fair amount of change over the course of its existence. However, its ultimate origin can be traced to the Germanic wordsaelfandraed. The first word means “elf” while the second word means “counsel,” which is why Alfred has the rather interesting meaning of “elf counsel.”

2. Kelly Has Multiple Origins

In contrast to Alfred, Kelly is a name with multiple origins. Sometimes, it is an Anglicization of an Irish patronym. Other times, it is based on various places that can be found in England and Scotland, which have their own meanings.

3. Studied at Iona College

It is interesting to note that Kelly studied at Iona College. For those who are unfamiliar with the name, Iona College is a private Catholic college situated in New Rochelle in New York state. It isn’t the biggest school that can be found out there, but it is nonetheless home to something like 4,000 undergraduate and graduate students.

4. Got a MBA

Speaking of which, Kelly didn’t just get his Bachelor of Art from Iona College, he also got his MBA from the same school as well. MBAs are a natural choice for people who want to work in senior management because they are focused on the skills needed to run a business, but what is most interesting is the fact that Kelly chose to stick with the same school.

5. Used to Be an Executive at American Express

As stated earlier, Visa isn’t the first financial services provider that Kelly has worked for. Before Visa Inc., he was an executive at American Express, where he was responsible for running a number of its most important operations. Examples ranged from the Consumer Card Services Group to U.S. Customer Service, which makes sense because Kelly spent more than two decades at the corporation.

6. Has Worked at the White House

With that said, it is interesting to note that Kelly’s career has seen him in a much wider range of places than Visa and American Express. For instance, he spent some time working at the White House in the 1980s. Then, Kelly served as a manager of information systems, which was following his time as someone involved in strategic planning at PepsiCo.

7. Not Particularly Interested in Cryptocurrency

Unsurprisingly, Kelly isn’t that interested in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. He intends to keep a watchful eye on it in case it proves to be more useful than what he expected, but for the time being, he sees it as a commodity rather than a payment vehicle. Moreover, Kelly has called cryptocurrency a speculative commodity, which is a rather polite term for what tends to be a very, very risky asset.

8. Not Particularly Interested in Blockchain

On a related note, Kelly doesn’t have much interest in blockchain either, which would be the technology that made Bitcoin possible in the first place. As Kelly sees it, blockchain is best-suited for a small volume of very important transactions, which makes it a poor choice for the high-volume nature of Visa’s main business.

9. Sees Some Potential for Blockchain for Visa’s B2B Operations

With that said, it isn’t as though Kelly thinks that blockchain is worthless. For example, he believes that blockchain might be able to help Visa’s business to business operations, which is why Visa has a team of blockchain researchers looking into such topics.

10. Believes that Tap to Pay Will Take Off Very Soon

Kelly has expressed frustration about the current way of making payments with credit cards, which he sees as being less convenient than what it could be. This might explain his belief that 50 percent or more of transactions will be carried out using tap to pay technology within five years, which is a trend that promises to pick up speed as it becomes more and more widespread.


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