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American Express Announces Enterprise Growth Organization Structure

October 26, 2010 -- Dan Schulman, Group President of Enterprise Growth at American Express today announced the Group's organization structure. Mr. Schulman joined American Express from Sprint Nextel to head the new Enterprise Growth Group in August  2010. Full text of the organization announcement distributed to American Express employees appears below.



Date:   October 26, 2010
To:   All American Express Employees
From:   Dan Schulman, Group President, Enterprise Growth

As one of the newer members of the American Express team, one of the many impressive things I've learned about the company is its long history of reinventing itself, time and again, to adapt to changes in the marketplace and customer expectations.

This blend of resilience and innovation is one of the greatest strengths any organization can have. It has served the company well in recent years as we met the challenges of a severe recession and volatile markets. Today, we are in great shape relative to our traditional competitors, thanks, in large part, to the continuing evolution of our products and the world-class customer service that backs them up.

That said, we are now operating in a much different environment. As Ken wrote in his third quarter update last week, new regulations in the U.S. and across the globe are driving some of the most sweeping changes the financial services industry has seen in decades. In addition, the lingering effects of the recession are making consumers cautious about taking on new debt and making banks cautious about lending them money. And, perhaps most dramatically, new technologies are rapidly changing the way people interact with each other and transact business all around the world.

By some estimates, there will be 10 billion mobile Internet-connected devices in the next few years, with some of the fastest growth coming from outside the United States. A new generation of consumers is spending a growing portion of their lives on what is increasingly a cloud-based digital architecture. They are accessing their personal information, connecting with their friends and families, interacting with their communities, and transacting across multiple devices and operating systems. A number of non-traditional competitors -- ranging from hundreds of start-ups around the world to the fast-growing PayPal -- are working to deliver digital based payment services for both consumers and merchants.

In addition, the growth opportunities for payment forms outside of our traditional charge and credit products -- such as prepaid, payroll cards, remittances and virtual currencies -- are expanding quickly, due in part to changing consumer behaviors, rapid economic development and evolving cultural norms across the world. In total, the market for these payment forms is well in excess of $1 trillion and generates disproportionately high growth rates. Capturing even a small market share represents the potential to add billions of dollars of revenue in the coming years.

To capitalize on these opportunities and to stay ahead of the competition, we not only need to continue delivering innovative payment products that bring value and convenience to our customers, but we also need to develop new and compelling alternatives to prevent non-traditional competitors from disintermediating us and commoditizing our value proposition in the future. This will require us to greatly expand and evolve our product set, redefine our delivery and distribution systems, and challenge some of the fundamental assumptions that drive our business and financial model.

Bringing about change of this nature is never easy. It is inherently risky; it demands bold actions, rapid decisions, a strong sense of urgency, and a willingness to reassess some of our core ideas about what we do and how we do it. To be successful, we will need to continue innovating in our core businesses, while at the same time aggressively pursuing new opportunities that can accelerate our growth.

Fortunately, we are building upon some tremendous assets that are the envy of our industry: our brand; our closed loop business model; a highly loyal, affluent customer base; a strong financial foundation; and an employee population that is highly motivated to win and passionate about serving our customers.

To help drive this change, Ken formed the Enterprise Growth Group as a new unit within American Express. During my first month as head of the group, I've spent a lot of time listening and learning from many people inside and outside the company. I'm excited about the work that is already underway to broaden and strengthen the products and services we offer. I have also gained a greater insight into the overall scope of the growth opportunities in the payments industry and the potential we have to capitalize on them. With that in mind, I am developing a set of aggressive growth objectives for Enterprise Growth over the next three to five years. I look forward to sharing the details of our plans with you over the next few months.

Right now, though, my priority is to create an organization that puts energy, resources and focus on our key growth opportunities. The group will evolve as consumers rapidly embrace new forms of payments and new ways of interacting with their communities and social networks. At the outset, our new structure will include four business units and three strategic capabilities teams reporting to me, as well as functional staff support, as described below.

Our Business Units

David Messenger, formerly the chief operations officer for Virgin Mobile USA, has joined American Express as executive vice president and head of our new Online and Mobile business unit.
David and his team will be responsible for developing new online and mobile payment capabilities and associated services and applications that will enable us to tap into the mobile-based digital revolution in a meaningful way. The team has an aggressive growth plan that includes building a very large subscriber base and generating significant revenues within the next three to five years.

David brings strong experience in the wireless industry, with an excellent history of effectively shaping and executing strategy in this fast moving sector. He was one of the key architects of Virgin Mobile USA's growth, and his career has focused on business development and operations in both the mobile and the entertainment and media sectors.

David's team will be built out over this coming year, but the initial organization will include:


  • Peter Lurie, SVP Strategic Partnerships/Business Development. Peter joins us from Virgin Mobile USA, where he was general counsel.
  • VP Customer Acquisition (Sales/Distribution/Marketing)
  • VP Technology Strategy/Architecture
  • SVP Product Strategy and Portfolio Management
  • VP Service Delivery
  • VP Customer Experience and Lifecycle Management
  • Jason Alexander, VP Strategic Program Management. Jason is joining the company from Nokia, where he was responsible for portfolio management and planning.

As part of his role, David will be responsible for coordinating and prioritizing all the digital development activities that are underway throughout the company. He will chair a Digital Council, comprising leaders from business units across the company, to assure our overall efforts are cohesive and well integrated. His team will also be the focal point for developing strategic partnerships with key online players, such as Facebook, Amazon, Google, Apple, AOL, Zynga, Twitter and others.


In addition, the marketing, business development, customer care and CRM functions that have been part of Revolution Money will transfer to the Online and Mobile team.

Alpesh Chokshi will take on an expanded role as president of a newly formed Global Payment Options organization, responsible for developing payment forms outside of our traditional charge and credit card products. These include prepaid (both reloadable and gift cards), mobile airtime cards, payroll cards, international and domestic person-to-person remittances, virtual currencies, government backed benefit and insurance claim cards, and debit-like service propositions.

In addition, the Global Foreign Exchange Services group, led by Paul Hargreaves, will move from Global Business Travel to Alpesh's team in order to accelerate the growth of foreign exchange-related activities in these new payment areas. Paul and his team have made strong progress in building our foreign exchange capabilities, and we welcome them to Global Payment Options.

Over the past few years, Alpesh and his team have transformed the prepaid business, driving substantial improvements in profitability across Travelers Cheques and Gift Cards, while simultaneously building a foundation for growth with the launch of new products such as PASS, rebate cards and B2B prepaid cards in the United States, as well as Chinese Yuan Travelers Cheques, the Australia Global Travel Card, and gift cards in Canada.

Reporting directly to Alpesh are:

  • Stefan Happ, SVP and GM, Americas
  • Lawrence Chan, who has been promoted to SVP and GM, Asia, Europe and Africa
  • Wesley Wright, VP and GM, Global Travelers Cheques
  • Paul Hargreaves, VP and GM, Global Foreign Exchange Services
  • SVP of New Product Development
  • VP of Global Strategy and Business Development

Alpesh's other direct reports in Global Prepaid will report in to members of the new Global Payment Options leadership team and will be announced separately.


Sanjay Rishi, Asia Business Head, Emerging Payments and New Ventures, will lead our India and China teams. The greatest opportunity for us to generate meaningful revenues in emerging markets is to embrace new online and mobile payment technologies and introduce payment forms, such as prepaid, that fall outside of our core charge and credit cards. Sanjay, who has been leading the company's emerging payments businesses in India and China, will now report directly to me on these initiatives. Sanjay, who moved back to India earlier this year, has successfully built a variety of our card businesses in different regions of the world during his nearly 25 years with the company. He will use this expertise to help us move quickly in this rapidly growing area.

Sanjay and his team will be responsible for expanding our presence in India, China and other Asian countries that exhibit similar entry requirements. He will focus on growing our businesses organically, as well as identifying acquisition targets and strategic partnerships that can significantly increase international revenues.

Sanjay will also continue to be responsible for the international consumer card products team in India and will continue to report to Doug Buckminster on these activities. His team comprises:


  • Shailesh Baidwan, VP, India Country Manager
  • Sunil Sachdev, VP, Business Development
  • Trina Dutta, Director, Business Planning and Projects

Eric Feldstein, formerly chief executive officer of GMAC Financial Services, is joining American Express in mid-November to become executive vice president of Fee Based Services. Eric and the Fee Based Services team will identify ways to capitalize on the existing assets of American Express by creating business models that can generate new, non-payment revenue streams.

Eric has extensive experience in consumer finance and new business development in both the U.S. and internationally. He held a number of senior finance roles at General Motors during his 20-year career at the company and, as CEO of GMAC until early 2008, was responsible for worldwide auto finance, insurance and real estate financing operations. Most recently, Eric was a partner at Eton Park Capital Management, a global multi-strategy hedge fund, where he served as the firm's CFO.

Ken has set some aggressive revenue targets for fee based services across the enterprise, and the cross-functional team led by Charles Petruccelli has made terrific progress in identifying a number of opportunities in this area. Several initiatives from that effort have been given seed funding, and will now report directly into Eric, including:


  • Brian Kleinberg, SVP, will lead E-commerce Initiatives. Brian, who formerly held senior roles in our card and financial advisor businesses, rejoins the company after spending the last 10 years in a variety of entrepreneurial and business start-up roles.
  • Loyalty Edge, led by Ross Christie, VP.

All other initiatives, including Insurance, Accept Pay, and Insights Online, will remain in their respective business. These initiatives will be funded by their businesses, which will be directly responsible for their revenue growth targets. The Enterprise Growth team will conduct ongoing quarterly reviews of these and other potential fee based initiatives to ensure coordination across the company.

Our Strategic Capabilities Teams


Chitra Narasimhan has been promoted to senior vice president and head of a newly formed Enterprise Growth Strategy team. Chitra has been a senior member of the American Express mergers & acquisitions team since its founding in 2003 and has led the execution of many of our M&A and investment initiatives over the last several years. Most recently, she has led our innovation outreach in Silicon Valley and has a great sense of the competitive trends that are reshaping the payments industry.

Chitra's team will focus on establishing the roadmap that brings the Enterprise Growth vision to life. They will help to identify the innovations, technologies, and new business models that are most relevant to payments and e-commerce. To accomplish this, Chitra and her team will be developing close relationships with venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and the developer community. Our strategy team will work to make sure that we fully understand our opportunities and are ready to handle the threats we face from disruptive technologies and non-traditional competitors.

Chitra will have three direct reports: a VP of Strategy, a VP of Competitive Analysis and Partnerships, and a VP of Outreach and Innovation. Chitra will also provide support for the Innovation and Technology Committee of the Board of Directors.

Gil Ahye, executive vice president, will continue to lead our Corporate Development/Mergers and Acquisitions team. Gil has done a great job leading this group for the last several years. He has overseen a number of large divestitures, including the company's financial advisory unit and American Express Bank, as well as the acquisitions of Revolution Money and the GE Corporate Card business, among others.

Going forward, acquisitions will play a larger role in our growth plans, and we are reorganizing the group to support that new mission. Our strong balance sheet and the success of our existing businesses give us the ability to approach potential acquisitions creatively and more frequently. Gil's team will expand accordingly to support what we expect to be an increase in deal volume, business case development and integration activities.


Gil will have seven direct reports:


  • Three senior leaders -- an SVP and two VPs -- will help us identify and evaluate potential acquisitions, joint ventures, partnerships and/or divestitures across the enterprise. They will also work with the business units to sort out our priorities and assure that appropriate information is gathered and due diligence is completed before final decisions are made. I am pleased to announce that Jessica Zoob will move from Global Merchant Services to assume the SVP role in this group, and Iwao Fusillo will continue in his role as VP. An external search is underway for the person to fill the third position on this team.

    Executing our M&A and business development plans most effectively is going to require us to be where much of the innovation is occurring. Therefore, we will be opening new offices in Silicon Valley and in Asia. Each will be headed by a new VP, reporting to Gil.
  • Tim Quinn, VP, will continue to head the investments, integration and measurement team. He is responsible for evaluating and monitoring potential equity investments and the integration of newly acquired companies.
  • Tracey Thomas, VP, will continue to lead our intellectual property (IP) efforts. He will be responsible for ensuring that we have the proper patent protections and strategies to develop and commercialize our technological innovations.

We are transforming Revolution Money from a separate business unit into an enterprise wide platform
that will support our future digital initiatives and all payment forms that are outside of our traditional charge and credit products, such as gift cards and international remittances. Jason Hogg will be president of this newly refocused group, which we are renaming Serve Enterprise. Jason will report directly to me and lead the creation of a scalable, global platform that can support a number of existing businesses and bring new online and mobile initiatives to market more rapidly.


Jason's entrepreneurial expertise, including building Revolution Money from the ground up, and his extensive understanding of the payments landscape make him an ideal fit for this role.

A key part of Jason's charter is to create a companywide strategy and business model for developing and coordinating all payment-related APIs across the company. He will also be responsible for running our "open API" platform for developers, which means that Jason's team will establish the standards for APIs across the company and will be responsible for the platform that developers use to leverage them. This will enable third party developers to create software applications that can integrate with our systems and platforms in order to create new services for our customers.

The Serve Enterprise team will create software development kits for the developer community so they can embed our capabilities and functionality into their applications and platforms. They will also develop the mobile and online platform that supports various digital personas, ID management and authentication, widgets, buttons and our full digital payments platform across multiple operating systems and devices.

Jason will also report on a dotted-line basis to Steve Squeri in Steve's role as the company's Chief Information Officer, and Jason and his team will work closely with our Technologies organization to assure that our activities in this area are in full compliance with our information security and privacy standards.


Jason's team comprises the following direct reports:


  • Cory Moreira, VP, Development
  • Nick Johns, VP, Solutions Architecture
  • Bo Gorham, VP, IT Ops & Information Security
  • Jorgen Bocklage, VP, Business Operations

Staff Group Support

The following leaders will work with Enterprise Growth to develop the staff support and expertise we need to help achieve our aggressive growth agenda:


  • Alan Gallo, SVP, Finance
  • Greg Keeley, SVP, Technologies
  • Peter Vaughn, SVP, Global Advertising and Brand Management
  • Wanji Walcott, Managing Counsel, General Counsel's Office
  • David Clark, VP, Human Resources
  • Joanna Lambert, VP, Corporate Affairs & Communications

Laura O'Leary is my director assistant.

In addition, the Risk and Information Management group will hire an SVP and head of RIM, as well as a VP, Chief Operational Risk Officer to support Enterprise Growth. We will also work in partnership with the business units and staff groups across the company as we look to leverage the various skill sets and expertise they bring to help us achieve our goals. And, of course, we will work closely with our Compliance group to assure that we adhere to all the proper standards, policies and procedures as we pursue new growth opportunities.

Our organization structure will continue to be refined, but many of the business opportunities we are focused on are developing very quickly, and I want us to move with a sense of urgency rather than waiting until our full organization is in place. Over the coming weeks, we'll make additional announcements as we staff our open positions with both internal and external candidates.

We have some exciting opportunities to accelerate the evolution of American Express. I know I can count on your support, and I encourage you to reach out with your ideas and suggestions as we work together to create our future.

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