Chuck Harris, who has led the prepaid-card distributor Netspend since 2010, is leaving the TSYS subsidiary at the end of this year to take charge of the “Texas Exes,” the University of Texas Alumni Association.
Columbus-based TSYS, a global credit-card and payment processor, purchased Austin, Texas-based Netspend in 2013, paying $1.4 billion, with Harris coming along for the ride and remaining president of the prepaid card marketing and distribution business operated by TSYS.
Harris will continue as senior executive vice president at TSYS and president of Netspend through Dec. 31, the company said Monday, with the firm planning to “finalize” its strategy for finding a replacement in the coming weeks. Harris is expected to take his job as executive director of the alumni association on Jan. 2, but also has agreed to keep a seat on the Netspend board of directors through his successor’s transition, the firm said.
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“It’s a dream come true to return to my alma mater and spend my days supporting the institution that changed my life for the better. I can’t wait to get to work,” Harris told Alcade, the official publication of the Texas Exes nonprofit organization. He will become the seventh director of the 130-year-old nonprofit organization.
Troy Woods, chairman, president and CEO of TSYS, said in a statement that he wishes Harris the best in his future endeavors.
“I respect and admire Chuck’s determination to follow this new course and focus his attention exclusively on community service and fostering the growth of education programs and scholarships for his alma mater,” Woods said. “TSYS has benefited greatly from Chuck’s strong leadership, his passion for empowering consumers and his focus on doing the right thing for people and the business. Since joining TSYS in 2013 with the acquisition of Netspend, Chuck has been responsible for driving growth in TSYS’ prepaid business.”
Under Harris, a 25-year financial services industry veteran, Netspend has been a solid contributor to the TSYS revenue stream. The subsidiary racked up more than $663 million in net revenue in 2016, up from just over $580 million the year before. Through the first nine months of 2017, Netspend’s net revenue has topped $560 million, which should put it on pace to top the full-year number of 2016.
The tenure of Harris hasn’t been without bumps in the road. It was a year ago that the Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint in federal court alleging deceptive marketing practices by Netspend. The agency alleged that the business “deceived” consumers concerning their inability to access money on their prepaid debit cards, either through a denial or delay in activation.
Netspend reached a settlement with the FTC earlier this year, with the prepaid business agreeing to pay $53 million in refunds to customers who got a Netspend card between Jan. 1, 2010, and Aug. 31, 2016, but could not activate it. Last month, the federal agency issued an additional note reminding eligible Netspend customers who had not received the required mail or email notice of a refund by Netspend that they should contact the FTC by calling 1-888-684-4858 or by email at NetSpend@ftc.gov.
For TSYS overall, Harris is the second top executive to depart the company this year. In September, Pamela Joseph, the firm’s president, resigned suddenly from her position at TSYS, as well as its board of directors. No reason was given for her departure, with Joseph receiving a $2.3 million separation payment.
TSYS CEO Woods assumed the title of president at the time, with company spokesman Cyle Mims saying Tuesday that there currently are no plans to hire another president.