BROOKFIELD, Wis. — Fiserv, a leading provider of information technology services to the financial industry, announced this week that one of its founders will retire Dec. 31.

Norm Balthasar, Fiserv's senior executive vice president and chief operating officer, is planning to retire after 33 years with the company and its predecessor.

Balthasar had previously announced in 2005 that he planned to retire in 2008.

He is a member of the original management team, which founded Fiserv in 1984, and will continue in an advisory capacity through the middle of 2008 to ensure a seamless transition and to assist with the integration of CheckFree Corp.

Jeffery Yabuki, Fiserv's president and chief executive officer, said Balthasar had a significant role in developing and implementing the Fiserv 2.0 strategy, which was designed to take the company to a new level by enhancing client value and operating more efficiently and effectively.

"Norm has a great combination of business knowledge and acumen, which has served us well. Norm cares deeply about the company, its people and its clients. His passion and commitment will be greatly missed. We wish him and his entire family all the best in this next chapter of his life," Yabuki said.

Balthasar worked with Sunshine State Systems, which later became Fiserv Tampa, and held a variety of Fiserv leadership roles before being promoted in 2002 to senior executive vice president and COO. His current position includes oversight for all of the Fiserv business lines.

During Balthasar's tenure, Fiserv grew enormously from revenues of $21 million the first year, serving 300 clients, to Fiserv today, which is a Fortune 500 company with $4.4 billion in revenue in 2006, officials explained.
"Based on the success that Fiserv has enjoyed, I have been fortunate to be part of something very special," explained Balthasar. "I always felt honored to be entrusted with such a significant role for a company as exceptional as Fiserv, but my greatest joy has been the opportunity to work along side so many wonderful people. I will miss them all very much."

Fiserv Acquires CheckFree

Just before Balthasar's retirement was announced, Fiserv reported the completion of its acquisition of CheckFree Corp., a world leader in financial electronic commerce services and products, including electronic bill payment and internet banking.

Under terms of the transaction, Fiserv acquired CheckFree for approximately $4.4 billion in cash, or $48 per share.

"Combining our two companies' broad range of market leading capabilities will provide a platform to deliver unprecedented innovation in financial services technology," said Yabuki.

"CheckFree's key strengths, world-class products and a culture of dynamic innovation will accelerate our Fiserv 2.0 strategies resulting in a client value proposition unrivaled in the market today. Both companies have been strong, and together we will be even stronger," he highlighted.

More than 3,000 financial services Web sites use the electronic billing and payment services provided by CheckFree, and growth will continue as consumers and businesses move from paper to electronic processes, officials indicated.

Additionally, CheckFree has the market-leading online banking platform for financial institutions, and its investment services platform processes portfolios with assets under management totaling more than $1.8 trillion. 

According to officials, the newly combined company has the expertise, solutions and scale to support financial institutions of any size in a number of areas including core processing, electronic billing, risk management, payments (including cash and logistics, ACH, imaging, online, phone, emergency and walk-in) and wealth management/managed accounts.

"CheckFree has defined innovation in online banking, electronic billing and payment, financial software and payment infrastructures, and the delivery of investment services technology for managed accounts," said Pete Kight, former CheckFree chairman and chief executive officer.

"Now, we have the opportunity to integrate and innovate with the unrivaled breadth and scale of Fiserv's technology platforms. We have an opportunity to create compelling value for our clients in areas that are tremendously important to their success and growth," he continued.

The combined company's pro-forma revenue for 2006 was more than $4.5 billion (excluding the previously announced sales of Fiserv ISS and Fiserv Health), serves more than 21,000 customers in 275 locations worldwide, and has more than 25,000 employees, executives reported.

New Senior Management Structure

Yabuki will continue to serve as CEO and president of Fiserv, and Donald Dillon will continue to serve as chairman of the board. Tom Hirsch will continue as the company's chief financial officer, the company said.

Kight will be named vice chairman of Fiserv and will lead new product development and strategic integration. Additionally, Kight will join the company's board of directors.

Steve Olsen, former COO of CheckFree, will bcome Fiserv's group president of Internet Banking and Electronic Payments. Olsen will lead the company's bill payments, Internet banking, treasury/cash management and investment management businesses.

"This is an historic day for Fiserv," said Yabuki. "Going forward, we are in the enviable position of having numerous market leading products and services, along with a fantastic group of employees working together to deliver increased value for our clients and shareholders. We couldn't be more excited about the future."

The company also announced that Norm Balthasar, senior executive vice president and chief operating officer, will retire from his position on December 31, 2007.  Balthasar's intent to retire in 2008 had been announced in 2005. Balthasar will remain with the company through June 30, 2008 to ensure a seamless transition and to assist in the CheckFree integration.