Discover’s New CEO Embraces Technology Ecosystem

While more traditional financial services companies fear impending threat from the large technology giants, Discover CEO Roger Hochschild, very much sees them as partners helping his company to do more efficiently.

He sees Amazon for example as a tech infrastructure enabler given Discover relies heavily on its cloud computing services. Meanwhile, Google’s speech analytics technology is used throughout Discover’s call centers.

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It’s unlikely that either of these dominant tech companies would try to compete as a bank given the regulatory burdens and other complexities that come along with the financial services industry. Hochschild therefore does not worry about competitive threat from that angle which allows him to focus on how he can better leverage their partnerships.

He’s no stranger to Discover nor the financial services industry. Hochschild started his career at the Company in 1998 as EVP and CMO and then become Chief Administrative Officer and Chief Strategic Officer of Morgan Stanley from 2001 to 2004. From 2004 to 2018, he was President and CEO of Discover Financial Services. Hochschild helped prior CEO David Nelms lead the company through its 2007 spinoff from Morgan Stanley.

Prior to Discover, he served as Senior Executive of MBNA America Bank. Hochschild holds a Bachelor's Degree in Economics from Georgetown University and an M.B.A. from the Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth College.

“Financial institutions that fall behind in terms of driving business value from the new technologies will wake up three years from now fundamentally noncompetitive,” Hochschild said in the interview. Part of his focus will be on continuing to win deals with companies pushing emerging forms of payments, after Discover landed partnerships with firms like Apple Inc. and PayPal Holdings Inc.

David Nelms is stepping down as CEO after almost 15 years. This change in leadership comes amid increased interest in the credit-card market from competitors including Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs as well as tech companies that are looking to disrupt the financial world by facilitating payments or offering loans to small businesses.