AmEx Adds Ex-Sprint Executives to Bolster Mobile Unit

American Express Co., the biggest U.S. credit-card issuer by purchases, hired former executives of Sprint Nextel Corp. to bolster its online and mobile unit and is rebranding Revolution Money, an Internet-based payments network.

David Messenger, former chief administrative and corporate development officer at Sprint unit Virgin Mobile USA, is joining New York-based AmEx to help shape the Enterprise Growth Group led by Dan Schulman, the company said today in a memo to employees. Schulman, 52, also left Sprint this year.

AmEx hired Peter Lurie, Virgin Mobile’s former general counsel, as senior vice president of strategic partnerships and business development, and Jason Alexander, a former Nokia Oyj executive, as vice president of strategic program management, according to the memo.

Messenger’s team “will be responsible for developing new online and mobile payment capabilities and associated services and applications that will enable us to tap into the mobile-based digital revolution in a meaningful way,” Schulman said in the memo.

Revolution Money, which AmEx bought in January for about $305 million, has been renamed Serve Enterprise. It will be transformed from a separate business unit into a companywide platform to “support our future digital initiatives,” Schulman said. Jason Hogg, who founded Revolution Money in 2005, will be president of Serve Enterprise and establish standards to open up the company’s payments platform to third-party developers.

‘Growth Opportunities’

Eric Feldstein, former chief executive officer of GMAC Financial Services and more recently a partner at hedge fund Eton Park Capital Management, will join AmEx in November as executive vice president of fee-based services, AmEx said.

“The growth opportunities for payment forms outside of our traditional charge and credit products -- such as prepaid, payroll cards, remittances and virtual currencies -- are expanding quickly,” Schulman said in the memo. “The market for these payment forms is well in excess of $1 trillion and generates disproportionately high growth rates. Capturing even a small market share represents the potential to add billions of dollars of revenue in the coming years.”

Schulman, a former CEO of Inc., joined Overland Park, Kansas-based Sprint last year after the carrier’s acquisition of Virgin Mobile USA, where he had been CEO. Sprint’s prepaid business has become its fastest-growing, with brands including Virgin, Boost Mobile, Common Cents Mobile and Assurance Wireless.

American Express climbed 80 cents, or 2 percent, to $40.10 at 4:15 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading, and was the day’s second-best performer in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

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