by Meridith Levinson

Michael Capellas to Lead First Data

Jul 11, 20072 mins

Michael Capellas was appointed CEO of First Data, the Denver-based electronic payment solutions provider announced yesterday. Capellas will assume his new role once First Data is acquired by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR), which is expected by the end of the third quarter of 2007.

The former Compaq Computer CIO succeeds Henry “Ric” Duques, who announced his intention to retire from the chairman and CEO roles in late 2005.

Capellas has served as a senior adviser to investment firm Silver Lake Partners since 2006. Prior to that, he led MCI out of bankruptcy as the company’s CEO from 2002 until it was acquired by Verizon in 2006. Before MCI, he was CEO of Compaq Computer from 1999 to 2002, during which time he helped broker the company’s sale to HP. After HP bought Compaq, he was named president of the combined company.

Capellas originally joined Compaq in 1998 as CIO and served as COO before being named CEO. He holds a bachelor of business administration degree from Kent State University. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Cisco Systems and serves on the national board of the Boys and Girls Club of America.

Given Capellas’ history of readying companies for sale as their CEO, I wouldn’t be surprised if First Data is eventually sold to another company. Private equity firms such as KKR are also known for buying companies, turning them around and putting them up for sale.