Demarest decided to leave the credit card giant after Malcolm Williamson’s June announcement that he would not continue as president and CEO when his current term ends in March.
Demarest’s duties – which, according to Russ Yarrow, senior vice-president of global corporate relations, involved responsibility for all Visa’s internal and external comms – now fall to executive vice-president of global brand management and corporate relations John Elkins.
Elkins, the founder and ex-CEO of global brand consulting firm FutureBrand, joined Visa in April as head of global brand management and marketing. His responsibility was to lead branding efforts, including global marketing partnerships and sponsorship. Elkins retains those duties, as well as taking on Demarest’s global PR remit.
Demarest joined Visa four-and-a-half years ago from Bank of America, where he had been executive vice-president and corporate communications head for five years (PRWeek, 26 March 1999).
Before joining Bank of America in 1993, Demarest was White House communications director and an assistant to President George Bush senior for three years.
Demarest also headed communications for Bush senior’s successful presidential campaign in 1988.