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Visa leadership transition expected to be smooth

Published 11/18/2022, 03:58 PM
Updated 11/18/2022, 04:06 PM
© Reuters.  Visa (V) leadership transition expected to be smooth

By Sam Boughedda

After the close on Thursday, Visa (NYSE:V) announced a leadership transition plan which will see Ryan McInerney being appointed CEO effective February 1, 2023.

Since 2013 McInerney has served as President of Visa. He will take over the CEO role from Alfred F Kelly, Jr, who has served as the company's CEO since 2016 and Chairman since 2019. Once McInerney moves into the CEO position, Kelly will assume the role of Executive Chairman of the Board.

Reacting to the news, Wells Fargo analysts, who have an Overweight rating and $225 price target on Visa, said they expect a very smooth transition, as Ryan McInerney is well regarded by investors and was formerly a JPMorgan executive.

"We continue to view the network stocks as quite defensive in this uncertain macro environment. Investors are largely focused on spend fundamentals (i.e., cross border, which continues to recover). There has been some concern around recent credit card legislation, but our industry contacts say there is not a path forward for that legislation at this point. V trades at 24x our CY23 EPS estimate," wrote the analysts.

Elsewhere, Morgan Stanley told investors in a note that their view is neutral.

"Given his various roles at the company and extensive experience in the space, we think it makes sense that Ryan was part of the long-term succession planning at Visa. We generally would not read too much into Al Kelly's departure, given Visa is a resilient compounder in our view, and will continue to benefit from global consumer spend growth, the ongoing shift from cash to electronic payments, and broadening merchant acceptance. Net-net, we would expect limited concern to come from this announcement, with Ryan well-received in the investor community," wrote the analysts.

Morgan Stanley currently has an Overweight rating and a $284 per share price target on Visa.

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