Dee Hock, a banker with a junior school diploma who formed the Visa bank card into a worldwide monetary behemoth, died on July 16 at his dwelling in Olympia, Wash. He was 93.
His son David confirmed the dying.
The bank card enterprise was in an early, rocky stage of improvement in 1967, when Mr. Hock was named to run the bank card division of National Bank of Commerce in Seattle, which was licensed by Bank of America to difficulty its BankAmericard.
At the time, the enterprise was beset by dangerous money owed and fraud, and the playing cards themselves had been primitive: They lacked the magnetic stripes that may later encode buyer data; transactions that required financial institution authorizations took a very long time; and the embossed data on them — buyer title, card quantity, expiration date — was awkwardly copied onto receipts with a heavy imprinter.
“By 1968, I was extremely concerned that the industry may go under and our bank’s investment with it,” Mr. Hock told Plazm, an arts and politics journal based mostly in Portland, Ore., in 2013. “I was attending a meeting of all of the licensees of BofA, which soon became a shambles of argument and accusations.”
He grew to become the chief of a committee of bankers whose establishments licensed the BankAmericard, which was first issued in 1958. The panel’s mission: to find out the cardboard’s future. (The American Express card made its debut that very same 12 months; eight years earlier, Diners Club had issued what’s broadly take into account the primary bank card.)
The committee’s resolution was to create a brand new firm, National BankAmericard, to be separate from Bank of America and to be managed by the banks that issued the cardboard. Mr. Hock was named president and chief government. In 1976, after an in-house contest, the corporate was renamed Visa.
As chief government, he oversaw the event of the primary digital authorization system and the primary interbank digital clearing and settlement system. Banks would difficulty the playing cards, not Visa, they usually had been mandated so as to add the magnetic stripe to their playing cards.
“Dee Hock realized something in the late 1960s that few others really understood: Computers and telecommunications would soon make it possible to build a global ‘electronic value exchange’ system that would soon enable customers to pay for goods and services ‘anywhere you want to be,’” David Stearns, the creator of “Electronic Value Exchange: Origins of the VISA Electronic Payment System” (2011), wrote in an e mail. (The firm renders its title in all capital letters.)
In a tribute, Alfred Kelly Jr., the chief executive of Visa, wrote that Mr. Hock had had a imaginative and prescient of “a world of frictionless commerce where anyone, anywhere could exchange value 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with absolute reliability.”
That imaginative and prescient, lengthy since realized, has made Visa the world’s main bank card community, with 3.9 billion playing cards issued and a complete buy quantity of $13 trillion.
“What he did was undeniable: He made credit cards work,” Joe Nocera, a former New York Times columnist who wrote about Mr. Hock in his e book “A Piece of the Action: How the Middle Class Joined the Money Class” (1994), stated in a telephone interview. “He took a system on the brink of collapse and said, ‘Follow me, I’ll take you to the promised land.’”
Dee Ward Hock ws born on March 21, 1929, in North Ogden, Utah. His father, Alma, was a utility lineman. His mom, Cecil (Dawson) Hock, was a homemaker.
As a boy, Dee grew to become enamored of the biology and ecology round him in rural Utah, however he adopted a banker’s profession monitor after graduating in 1949 from the two-year Weber State College (now University) in Ogden.
Over the following 17 years, Mr. Hock was the supervisor of two branches of the financial institution Pacific Finance; an assistant supervisor of public relations and promoting for Pacific; normal supervisor of the Columbia Investment Company; and a supervisor at CIT Financial (now Group). He was employed by National Bank of Commerce in 1966. But earlier than becoming a member of it, he had “essentially retired on the job,” his son stated in an interview.
“When people left him alone, he was usually the most successful part of the organization,” David Hock added. “But when they wanted to fix it, they usually messed it up.”
Energized by his work at Visa, Mr. Hock moved the corporate into providing debit playing cards, which gave cardholders entry to checking accounts, in addition to a premium card and a money-market fund.
“Mr. Hock is a magnificent strategist, maybe even brilliant,” Helene Duffy, a marketing consultant within the discipline of digital funds switch, instructed The Times in 1981. “He has always been determined to have Visa be the premier payment system, and has not deviated from that basic goal.”
In addition to his son David, Mr. Hock is survived by a daughter, Lynette Elze; seven grandchildren; and 7 great-grandchildren. His spouse, Ferol (Cragun) Hock, died in 2018. Another son, Steven, died in 2012.
At Visa, Mr. Hock inspired innovation and experimentation — amongst its staff and among the many banks that licensed the bank card. Rather than working the corporate beneath a standard hierarchical administration system, he sought enter from the underside up.
It was an apt manner of managing a enterprise whose member banks compete towards each other for patrons however at the identical time should cooperate to make Visa work successfully. But, he conceded to Fast Company journal in 1996, Visa carried out solely about 25 p.c of what he referred to as his “chaordic” idea of administration — a steadiness of chaos and order.
That idea, as he defined it, applies to organizations and companies the place energy is broadly distributed. He wrote two books about it, “Birth of the Chaordic Age” (1999) and “One From Many: VISA and the Rise of Chaordic Organization” (1999).
Mr. Hock resigned from Visa in 1984 to grow to be a rancher, however eight years later he started consulting organizations about his chaordic concepts.
In “One From Many,” he recalled chatting with teams and asking them what they thought was an important accountability of a supervisor.
All the solutions, he wrote, had been “downward looking — having to do with exercise of authority, with selecting employees, motivating them, training them, appraising them, organizing them, directing them and controlling them.”
He added: “That perception is completely mistaken. In chaordic organizations, it must be stood on its head, as it should in all organizations.”