Barber has spent the past two years at Good Relations, a Bell Pottinger-owned agency. He joins Visa Europe as head of issues management, reporting to head of external comms Simon Kleine.
Good Relations CEO Teresa-Anne Dunleavy, who also worked with Barber at Porter Novelli, said: 'Ian has made the decision that he does not wish to pursue an agency career and that his heart lies in-house. He is a class act and for sure our loss is Visa's gain.
'Good Relations is going through phenomenal growth and we are currently interviewing for a head of corporate to replace him. This is a significant hire we are not prepared to rush,' she added.
Barber was previously at Barclaycard, where he spent six years as head of PR. He handled issues including the Office of Fair Trading's intervention into bank charges.
Visa Europe currently uses Hill and Knowlton for corporate media relations and press office support.