Head of Security Research, Visa Research

Palo Alto, CA, United States

Company Description

Visa is a world leader in digital payments, facilitating more than 215 billion payments transactions between consumers, merchants, financial institutions and government entities across more than 200 countries and territories each year. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, convenient, reliable and secure payments network, enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive.

When you join Visa, you join a culture of purpose and belonging – where your growth is priority, your identity is embraced, and the work you do matters. We believe that economies that include everyone everywhere, uplift everyone everywhere. Your work will have a direct impact on billions of people around the world – helping unlock financial access to enable the future of money movement.

Join Visa: A Network Working for Everyone.

Job Description

Visa Research was founded six years ago to complement a broader strategy to ensure and extend Visa's financial technology leadership position. Since its foundation Visa Research has accelerated innovation based on sound understanding and novel application of new and disruptive technologies with a focus on the scientific foundations of existing and future commerce related technologies. We conduct fundamental and applied research on the most challenging problems in the payment industry and provide technical thought leadership to guide the company's future. We collaborate with the broader scientific research community, including academia, as well as with internal Product groups and the broader digital commerce ecosystem. Visa Research focuses in three key areas: Security (Systems Security and Cryptography), the Future of Payments (Digital Currencies and Blockchain) and Artificial Intelligence.

Job Description and Responsibilities

Working on Security research at Visa is a unique opportunity at a time when the payments industry is undergoing a digital transformation, and with security technologies as the critical enabler for a growing number of emerging payment models and usage scenarios. We offer you the opportunity to be at the center of innovation in the payments industry and set the cryptography direction for Visa and the future payment ecosystem. We are looking for a leader for the Security and Future of Payments vertical. Reporting to the Senior Vice President of Visa Research, the Head of Security Research is responsible for setting the research agenda and driving innovation in a number of broadly strategic areas, including ongoing projects in systems security, advanced cryptography, blockchain, digital currencies and additional technologies that are critical to shape the future of payments. You will lead the leaders of the Cryptography team, the Systems Security team and the Future of Payments team and continue to build upon the existing world-class team of research scientists, with varying levels of experience from new PhD to Principal Researcher, as Visa Research continues to grow the organization over the coming years. You will interface with a number of internal and cross-functional product and technology organizations to understand their technology strategies and you will lead initiatives to address both short and long-term challenges for Visa and the greater digital commerce ecosystem. This will include engaging with other cross functional peers, Product and Business leads as well as the Cybersecurity team at Visa. You will also engage and influence the broader scientific research community across both academia and industry, and you will explore and drive technologies that are potentially disruptive to the payments industry. You will have the responsibilities of three different pillars focusing on Cryptography, System Security and the Future of Payments (which focuses on Digital Currencies and blockchain technologies).

This role represents an exciting opportunity to make key contributions to Visa's strategic vision to champion payment security. The successful candidate must have an outstanding record of accomplishment in fundamental and applied research with groundbreaking innovations, as well as strong leadership skills for shaping and executing a shared technology vision and fostering a culture that encourages in-depth research and open collaboration. The successful candidate will be a self-starter comfortable with ambiguity, with strong attention to detail, and excellent hands-on system building skills.


  • Set and manage the strategic five-year vision research agenda for the Security research team (Systems Security, Cryptography, and the Future of Payments groups).

  • In collaboration with your leads, develop the action plans to execute on the research agenda for the three different pillars.

  • Drive the research and development of cutting-edge security technologies across a large spectrum of applications concerned with secure payments, privacy, and data protection, where handling complex and sometimes underspecified problem domains is a requirement. 

  • Continue building a strong partnership with Visa’s Crypto team in developing innovative solutions around Digital Currencies.

  • In charge of the strategy for academic collaboration in the area of Security and Digital Currencies, working closely with Visa Research’s Director for Academic Affairs in prioritizing the research problems, the universities and the professor to build partnerships with.

  • Build an engaged team that delivers high-impact intellectual property value through research publications and patents. Continue building on the strong presence of the Security team at top conferences around the world and continue increasing the intellectual property for Visa in the areas of Cryptography, Systems Security and Digital Currencies.

  • Maintain a strong collaborative environment for team members to deliver innovative technologies, insights and early products and/or prototypes to Visa business units to resolve their significant product pain-points and create new growth opportunities. 

  • Establish external collaborations with our partners in academia, industry, and government on key initiatives to advance our security research agenda, on both short-term (1-2 years) and long-term basis. 

  • Partner cross-functionally with other teams from Technology, Product, Operations, Market Research, etc. 

  • Communicate goals, progress, and results of the team to the larger Research organization, Technology executive team, and Product executive leadership, partners, and peers. 

  • Foster in-depth and productive relationships at all levels with team members and clients internally and externally. 

This is a hybrid position. Hybrid employees can alternate time between both remote and office. Employees in hybrid roles are expected to work from the office two days a week, Tuesdays and Wednesdays with a general guidepost of being in the office 50% of the time based on business needs.


Basic Qualifications:

12 years of relevant work experience with a PhD.

Preferred qualifications:

• PhD in computer science, computer engineering, electrical engineering, mathematics, or the equivalent with a focus on security or digital currencies and a strong record of research publications and impact in the research community.
• Experience (ten or more years) conducting research at well-known university or industry labs in one or more of the following areas: mobile and distributed systems/cloud computing security, protocols and network security, cryptography and cryptanalysis, payments and cryptocurrencies, data and application security, malware and program analysis, user and data privacy, assurance and formal methods, and related fields.
• Excellent leadership skills and experience (five or more years) leading and building teams of ten to twenty research scientists, architects, and engineers with various levels of experience in academic, industry, and industry research environments, and managing the multi-year research lifecycle process from conceptualization through to technology or solution hand-off and productization.
• Acumen, conviction, and confidence to evangelize and provide thought leadership to the long-term Visa and Visa Research technology roadmap.
• Strong verbal and written communication skills demonstrated ability to think outside the box and innovate on a consistent basis, and the ability to assimilate a diverse set of specialized technology and business domains.
• Expertise in data analytics and machine learning is a plus.
• Experience in payments or related industry is a plus.

U.S. APPLICANTS ONLY: The estimated salary range for a new hire into this position is 192,700 to 265,000 USD, which may include potential sales incentive payments (if applicable). Salary may vary depending on job-related factors which may include knowledge, skills, experience, and location. In addition, this position may be eligible for bonus and equity. Visa has a comprehensive benefits package for which this position may be eligible that includes Medical, Dental, Vision, 401 (k), FSA/HSA, Life Insurance, Paid Time Off, and Wellness Program.

Additional Information

Work Hours: Varies upon the needs of the department.

Travel Requirements: This position requires travel 5-10% of the time.

Mental/Physical Requirements: This position will be performed in an office setting.  The position will require the incumbent to sit and stand at a desk, communicate in person and by telephone, frequently operate standard office equipment, such as telephones and computers.

Visa is an EEO Employer.  Qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or protected veteran status.  Visa will also consider for employment qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with EEOC guidelines and applicable local law.

Visa will consider for employment qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with applicable local law, including the requirements of Article 49 of the San Francisco Police Code.

* Salary range is an estimate based on our salary survey 💰

Tags: Analytics Application security Artificial Intelligence Blockchain Cloud Computer Science Crypto Cryptography Machine Learning Malware Mathematics Network security PhD Privacy Strategy

Perks/benefits: Career development Conferences Equity Health care Insurance Salary bonus Startup environment Wellness

Region: North America
Country: United States
Job stats:  11  1  0
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