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Visa has fired its head of innovation Jim McCarthy for behavior that ‘violated Visa policy’

The high-profile executive was a key figure in deals with tech giants like Apple and Google.

WIRED Author Jason Tanz (L) interviews EVP Innovation and Strategic Partnerships at Visa Jim McCarthy onstage at WIRED Business Conference on June 7, 2017 in New York City.
Former Visa head of innovation Jim McCarthy (r) onstage at the 2017 WIRED Business Conference in New York City
Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for Wired
Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

Jim McCarthy, a top Visa executive who was the company’s key decision-maker on deals with big tech companies, has been fired for behavior that “violated” company policy.

Visa president Ryan McInerney, to whom McCarthy reported, sent out a company-wide memo on Friday announcing the departure.

“Jim is an 18-year veteran of Visa and has contributed much to our company over the years,” the message, which Recode viewed, read in part. “However, in response to information that recently came to our attention, we determined that Jim had violated Visa policy. We cannot ignore behavior — at any level — that runs counter to our leadership principles and culture.”

The memo does not disclose the nature of the “information” nor the behavior or violation that led to the decision. But one would imagine it is serious enough for management to oust someone of McCarthy’s stature.

A Visa spokeswoman declined to comment. McCarthy did not immediately respond to text and voice messages seeking comment.

Recode has been working to gather more information about the circumstances surrounding the termination, but does not yet have enough of the details confirmed to publish the reasons for McCarthy’s ouster. (If you do have more information, you can email me at, or reach me by phone or on secure messaging apps like Signal, Telegram, WhatsApp and Confide at 917-655-4267.)

The firing is significant for tech, since McCarthy has been Visa’s highest-profile executive in Silicon Valley due to his role overseeing the company’s global innovation and strategic partnerships groups. These teams work on big projects such as Apple Pay and Google’s Android Pay, as well as deals with other tech firms such as Stripe, FitBit and Garmin.

Externally, McCarthy had also become the face of Visa at tech-related conferences. (For example, I’ve interviewed McCarthy twice onstage at the Money20/20 payments conference alongside a counterpart from MasterCard.)

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