KKR’s First Data Turns to JPMorgan Chase for Mr Fix It

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Frank J. Bisignano, co-chief operating officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) leaves to become chief executive of First Data Corporation.

For the past eight years, Frank Bisignano has been Mr Fit-It at JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM). Now he is all set to try playing that role as chief executive officer of First Data Corporation, a payment processor that was bought for $26.35 billion in 2007 by private-equity firm KKR & Co. L.P. (NYSE:KKR)

KKR's First Data Turns to JPMorgan Chase for Mr Fix It

First Data is the largest merchant acquirer in the US, helping retailers accept credit and debit card payments. It handled 16.7 billion purchase transactions made with general-purpose credit, debit and prepaid cards in the U.S last year, according to Nilson Report, an industry newsletter based in Carpinteria, California.

Mr. Bisignano was promoted to co-chief operating officer last July as part of a broad reshuffling of management. During his time at JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM), Mr. Bisignano gained a reputation as a kind of Mr. Fix-It. His reputation had not been tarnished by the outsize bets made by traders in JPMorgan’s chief investment office.

Just as JP Morgan was grappling with thorny legal issues, he took the reins of the bank’s floundering mortgage unit in 2011. To eradicate the problems, Mr. Bisignano revamped the mortgage unit. He was a skilled manager, and he kept a tight watch over the mortgage operations.

Technology and security were among Mr. Bisignano’s responsibilities as co-COO at JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM), and he held executive roles within the payments industry earlier in his career. He was Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C)’s CEO of global transaction services from 2002 to 2005 and executive vice-president of consumer lending in the early 1990s for First Fidelity Bancorp.

In 2008, Mr Bisignano helped lead the JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM)’s integration of the shotgun marriage to Bear Stearns, ordering that fiber-optic cables be run from J.P. Morgan headquarters across the street to the Bear Stearns building so the bank could tap into the systems of its new investment bank. He also handled the bank’s high-stakes and high-profile negotiations of its London offices, which became entangled in the political upheaval over London’s plan to heavily tax banker bonuses.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM), the biggest US bank, named Matt Zames sole chief operating officer. Bisignano’s exit buttresses Zames’s stature as a potential successor to Dimon. Zames, 42, was promoted twice within the span of 100 days in 2012 as he helped Dimon regain control of a UK unit’s wayward bets on credit derivatives that cost the bank more than $6.2 billion. (

Exuding confidence at his challenging role at First Data, Mr Bisignano remarked that new technological advances are impacting the payments industry every day, making life easier for their partners, merchants and consumers. He is confident that First Data can and should lead the way when it comes to offering the most innovative solutions and service.

With his vast fix-it expertise, one can certainly hope for his best years at First Data.

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