A former Utah governor takes a top job with a credit card company

Jon Huntsman Jr. has been hired to manage Mastercard’s public sector partnerships and company sustainability

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Former Gov. Jon Huntsman has been chosen to lead Mastercard's public partnerships as the company's vice chairman and president of strategic growth, the company announced on March 11, 2024.

Jon Huntsman Jr. isn’t done negotiating with governments.

The former Utah governor and former U.S. ambassador to China, Russia and Singapore will join Mastercard as vice chairman and president of strategic growth, Mastercard announced Monday.

Huntsman will oversee Mastercard’s efforts to “[expand] commercial partnerships with governments and public sector institutions,” and lead the company’s “inclusive growth, philanthropy and sustainability agenda,” a news release said.

Mastercard CEO Michael Miebach said Huntsman’s experience in public policy and private business will be “extremely valuable as we build the future of Mastercard.”

Huntsman, Miebach said in a news release, “will play a pivotal role in helping advance our approach to commercial sustainability through social impact, consistent with our company’s core value of doing well by being good.”

Huntsman’s political career includes several stints in the federal government — as an ambassador for three separate administrations, a deputy assistant secretary of commerce, a deputy U.S. trade representative and as a staff assistant under Ronald Reagan.

Huntsman was governor of Utah from 2005 to 2009, leaving that job months after reelection to become President Barack Obama’s ambassador to China. He ran for the Republican nomination for president in 2012, losing to fellow Utahn Mitt Romney. In 2020, he ran to reclaim the governor’s office, but lost in the Republican primary to then-Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox.

As a businessman, Huntsman has served as an executive and chairman for his family’s corporations and foundations, including the Huntsman Cancer Institute. He was most recently vice chairman of Ford Motor Company, and is still on the board of directors.

Mastercard’s revenue grew 13% in 2023, according to recent SEC filings, and the company said it wants to keep growing. In an annual report, Mastercard said it wants to expand its services and reach even more people in 2024.

“Mastercard has an extraordinary company culture that is driven by a profound commitment to advancing inclusive, sustainable, digital-driven economic growth throughout the world,” Huntsman said in the news release. “I very much look forward to being part of this great team to further scale new business opportunities and partnerships in support of the company’s exciting strategic growth opportunities.”

Shannon Sollitt is a Report for America corps member covering business accountability and sustainability for The Salt Lake Tribune. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps keep her writing stories like this one; please consider making a tax-deductible gift of any amount today by clicking here.