Legal chiefs get new roles at Visa in another round of changes

Smartphone with Visa logo is seen in front of displayed stock graph in this illustration
Smartphone with Visa logo is seen in front of displayed stock graph in this illustration taken, July 15, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
  • Kelly Mahon Tullier is passing the top legal role to Julie Rottenberg, who was named GC in January
  • Tullier remains in senior C-suite and inherits new duties from outgoing chief human resources officer

(Reuters) - Kelly Mahon Tullier, the chief legal and administrative officer of Visa Inc since January, is taking on a newly created role as vice chair and chief people and administrative officer while passing the legal and compliance baton to general counsel Julie Rottenberg.

Rottenberg, who was named senior vice president and general counsel in January, has been promoted to executive vice president and general counsel, the company said in announcing the changes Wednesday. Tullier, in her new position, will take on additional duties from the company's outgoing chief human resources officer, Jennifer Grant, who is stepping down at the end of the year.

The appointments would become effective on Oct. 1.

The changes come nine months after Visa and financial technology company Plaid called off a planned $5.3 billion merger in the face of a U.S. Justice Department lawsuit seeking to block the combination on antitrust grounds. The Justice Department in March also launched an antitrust investigation into the company's practices regarding debit-card transactions.

Visa CEO Al Kelly said in a statement that Tullier's new role would give her "the opportunity to bring her strong business acumen, along with her passion for our people and nurturing talent, to the entire organization."

Tullier will work with the company's human resources team on global talent acquisition and talent management, training and development, people operations and employee relations, the company said. She will also retain her current responsibilities as corporate secretary and head of global communications and global corporate services.

Prior to becoming a general counsel at Visa in 2014, Tullier held in-house positions at Pepsico Inc for over a decade, including as the first female general counsel of the Frito-Lay division. Before that, she was an associate at Baker Botts for three years.

Rottenberg, who will take over legal and compliance functions from Tullier, joined Visa more than 13 years ago from Arnold & Porter. She has held various in-house roles at the company, including serving as the head of U.S. litigation, deputy general counsel and chief counsel for North America.

Neither Tullier nor Rottenberg were immediately available to discuss their new roles on Thursday. In a Linkedin post Wednesday, Tullier said that "empowering best in class talent and teams has long been one of my strongest passions" and she is "proud to pass" her former position to Rottenberg.

Tullier isn't the only general counsel in the financial services industry to recently take on a new C-suite role that includes non-legal matters. Visa rival Mastercard Inc. in April promoted general counsel Tim Murphy as its chief administrative officer to oversee the company's law, franchise and integrity activities and management of its people and capabilities functions. As part of his new role, Murphy works with Michael Fraccaro, chief people officer and a member of MasterCard's management committee.

In-house leaders have been broadening their responsibilities more generally, said John Gilmore, co-founder and managing partner at legal recruiter BarkerGilmore. He noted more are taking on people-oriented roles as their mandates expand to include environmental, social and corporate governance matters and their companies' diversity and inclusion efforts.

"The CEO is looking for a confidant that can have the overall responsibility there," he said.

Read more:

U.S. Justice Department probing Visa over debit practices

Visa, Plaid call off $5.3 billion deal

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Xiumei Dong covers legal industry news, with a focus on law firm strategy and growth, in-house counsel and the Washington, D.C., legal market. Reach her at