Lázaro Campos, the current head of the banking industry division with SWIFT, will succeed long-time CEO Leonard Schrank as the global payments messaging organization's CEO effective April 23. Schrank will step down after 15 years on the job, earning him the distinction of being SWIFT's longest-serving CEO.
The succession process was launched in 2006, a year after Schrank signed a final three-year contract extension with SWIFT's board of directors. It was last month that the board approved the nomination of Campos as SWIFT's next leader. Campos joined SWIFT in 1987 and has served in his current position since 2003. He was also promoted to the executive committee and head of marketing in 2000.
Schrank welcomed the appointment of his successor. "Lázaro has the vast experience, community backing and the commitment to take SWIFT forward," he said in a release. "The most important decisions of a board are choosing its CEO and choosing his successor. ... I'm thrilled with the board's decision. SWIFT is in good hands with Lázaro."
As for Campos, he acknowledges there will be some challenges ahead for the organization, especially around such areas as compliance, customer orientation, commoditized messaging and regionalization. However, he plans to keep his focus on several goals to keep SWIFT atop an ever-changing market. "Last June, we had approval for our SWIFT 2010 strategy, which was two years in the making," he says. "The board and community have endorsed this vision and the different programs are in place. My first and foremost objective is to engage our customers and deliver against that strategy so they can derive more value from SWIFT. Corporates as a new customer segment, integration of clearing and settlement operations in Europe (SEPA, Target2, Giovannini, MiFID), alternative investments automation, and supporting developing economies in the BRIC+ countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China will be the main focus. Continuity will be key."
There is a two-month transition process in place to help ease the handover for Campos and Schrank. Most notable among Schrank's accomplishments as head of SWIFT are, according to Campos, a five-fold increase in message traffic, an 80 percent reduction of prices, the opening up of the securities market, bringing on over 100 market infrastructures, and a new corporate-to-bank market segment. In addition, it was under Schrank's guidance that the new IP-based platform, SWIFTNet, was launched.