First Data CEO Steps Down, Joining KKR

Michael Capellas has stepped down as CEO of First Data Corp., in order to become a tech-focused senior advisor at KKR. First Data board member Joe Forehand, former chairman and CEO of Accenture, will take over as chairman and interim CEO. First Data is a KKR portfolio company, and Forehand is a KKR senior advisor.


First Data Corporation and its board of directors today announced the appointment of board member Joe Forehand, former chairman and CEO of Accenture, as chairman and interim chief executive officer (CEO). Forehand will succeed Michael Capellas on March 31, 2010. Capellas, after serving as CEO for three years, has accepted a new role as senior advisor at KKR focusing on technology. He will continue to support First Data in an advisory capacity.

Henry Kravis, co-founder of KKR and a member of First Data’s board of directors, said: “I would like to express my deep appreciation to Michael Capellas for his leadership and significant accomplishments at First Data. First Data has shown exceptional resiliency and continues to grow and invest during this economic downturn. I look forward to working with Michael in his new role as KKR senior advisor, and I am confident he will be a strong contributor to our technology team.”

Under Capellas’s leadership, First Data undertook multiple strategic initiatives and expanded into new businesses, becoming the global leader in electronic commerce and payment solutions for merchants, financial institutions and card issuers. Since 2007, the company has achieved its strategic goals of delivering solid organic growth, investing heavily in technology and realizing substantial cost savings. Capellas has recruited a world-class management team, reestablished new product development as a core capability and has realigned the company around two global lines of business – retail and alliance services and financial services. Other accomplishments that have strengthened First Data’s market and financial position include:

• Signing more than 500,000 new merchants in 2009, bringing the total to 6 million merchants in 36 countries;
• Creating industry-changing strategic alliances, including with Bank of America and ICICI, India’s largest private-sector bank;
• Extending and expanding distribution agreements with Wells Fargo, PNC and Citi;
• Announcing significant new client wins and renewals with American Express, Capital One and Citi;
• Launching new products, including a new eCommerce platform; TransArmor, a new data security solution in partnership with RSA; and FirstVision, the market-leading platform for issuing and processing credit, debit and prepaid cards around the world; and
• Dramatically improving service quality through the consolidation of data centers, call centers and merchant platforms.

“We have made great strides in a difficult economic environment, and I feel privileged to have worked with so many accomplished professionals that helped steer the company in the right direction. Markets are made at the bottom, and the accomplishments of the past three years will undoubtedly strengthen our position once the economy recovers. I am extremely proud of the team and all of the employees. With the company on a solid path, I have decided that this is the right time for me to join KKR as senior advisor focusing on technology,” said Chairman and CEO Capellas.

Forehand, 61, currently a member of First Data’s board of directors and a senior advisor at KKR, was most recently chairman and CEO of Accenture where he spent 34 years of his career. Forehand served as Accenture’s CEO from November 1999 through August 2004 and as Accenture’s chairman from 2001-2006.

Said KKR member and First Data Board Director Scott Nuttall,” Joe Forehand is a proven leader. He guided Accenture through its IPO and a period of significant growth and success. He has been an important part of KKR’s efforts as a senior advisor and has more recently been directly involved with First Data as an advisor to management and a board member. As a result, we expect a seamless transition and no change in the strategic direction of the company.”

“First Data has a great history, a great team and a great future. I am very excited about the opportunity to make the company an even stronger leader in electronic commerce and payment technology solutions,” said newly named Chairman and Interim CEO Forehand.

Biographical highlights on Joe Forehand, newly named chairman and interim CEO
Forehand is currently a senior advisor at KKR and prior to that served as chairman and chief executive officer at Accenture, where he spent 34 years of his career. Forehand served as Accenture‘s CEO from November 1999 through August 2004 and as chairman from 2001-2006. He led Accenture through a period of significant change and growth – including launching one of the largest global rebranding campaigns. In July 2001, Forehand led the company in its IPO, one of the largest in U.S. history. During Forehand’s term as CEO, Accenture grew from $9.6 billion in revenue and 66,000 employees to $13.7 billion in revenue and 103,000 employees. As a public company under his leadership, Accenture’s total return to shareholders was 74 percent over a period of time when the S&P 100 Index decreased 14 percent. He also serves as chairman of the board of Aricent, a global innovation, technology and services company, and on the board of directors of the Auburn University Foundation. Forehand holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Auburn University and a master’s degree in industrial administration and an honorary doctorate from Purdue University.

About First Data
First Data powers the global economy by making it easy, fast and secure for people and businesses to buy goods and services using virtually any form of electronic payment. Whether the choice of payment is a gift card, a credit or debit card or a check, First Data securely processes the transaction and harnesses the power of the data to deliver intelligence and insight for millions of merchant locations and thousands of card issuers in 36 countries. For more information, visit