61: Career Shifts, Bitcoin, and the Future of Money: Al Kelly, CEO, Visa

 
Visa CEO Al Kelly spent 23 years at American Express, and eventually joined the Visa board.

Visa CEO Al Kelly spent 23 years at American Express, and eventually joined the Visa board.

Imagine you've worked 23 years at a company, up to the top. You're being groomed to be the next CEO. And then the current CEO tells you – actually, he's not leaving anytime soon. 

That's the position Al Kelly was in nine years ago at American Express. What happened next is a textbook case in how to handle career curveballs. Today Kelly is the CEO of Visa, and has great things to say about Ken Chenault, who’s retiring as CEO of American Express. Kelly also has great insight into what's happening in the world of money, from Bitcoin to Apple Pay. 

I sat down with Kelly recently at the National Retail Federation conference in New York. Visa is a big company, worth more than a quarter trillion dollars, and its technology touches a staggering number of the payment transactions happening around the world. We talk about that – plus his career, which has taken him around some interesting corners.