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Douglas Sabo stepping down as Visa’s Chief Sustainability Officer

Sabo has been leading Visa's sustainability efforts for 15 years.
Melodie Michel
Visa Chief Sustainability Officer Douglas Sabo speaking at the 2018 Climate Leadership Conference
Visa Chief Sustainability Officer Douglas Sabo speaking at the 2018 Climate Leadership Conference

Douglas Sabo, Visa’s first Chief Sustainability Officer, has announced his intention to leave his role at the end of 2023.

In a Linkedin post on November 1, Sabo said he was ready to “transition away” from the payment corporation and start his “next chapter” as a consultant and advocate for sustainable living and green innovation.

“How does one reflect back on 15 years of strategies, initiatives, partnerships and impact? First, with deep appreciation and gratitude for the hundreds of internal and external partners and collaborators across our work together. It is these 15 years of collaboration that made it possible for the advancements in the sustainability, ESG and impact agenda at Visa,” he said.

Sabo was appointed Visa’s first Chief Sustainability Officer in 2020, but has held sustainability roles at the firm for 15 years, during which he led the launch of its formal ESG programme and the development of its science-based climate target to be net zero by 2040.

During his tenure, Visa reduced its operational emissions by 89% and switched to 100% renewable electricity for its operations.

He also launched the Visa Foundation and served as its first president before the appointment of Graham Macmillan in 2019. As such, Sabo oversaw US$125 million of contributions to humanitarian crises and employee community programs. 

Visa is consistently recognised for its sustainability work, having been named on the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index, the World’s Most Ethical Companies list and the Most JUST Companies list.

“So…what’s next? Well, that is still to be written,” said Sabo, though he plans to expand his social media activities in support of sustainable living and is open to “discrete projects and initiatives”, consulting and speaking opportunities as well as advisory board service.

“Finally, thank you, Visa, for being an amazing place to work, with outstanding people and a global platform to uplift the lives of everyone, everywhere,” he added.

With this announcement begins the search for Visa’s next Chief Sustainability Officer.