AmEx Snags Two More Execs From Sprint Nextel For Big Mobile Payments Push

In an effort to beef up its alternative payments efforts, American Express has picked up two additional Sprint (NYSE: S) Nextel executives. The two executives will join the company’s Revolution Money unit, which is looking to create an online and mobile payments network. The hires follow the appointment of Dan Schulman, who left Sprint’s Virgin Mobile (NYSE: VM) unit earlier this year, to become the Group President.

The two new hires are: David Messenger, former chief administrative and corporate development officer at Virgin Mobile, who joins as executive VP and head of our new Online and Mobile business unit; and Peter Lurie, the former general counsel at Virgin Mobile, who will act as SVP of strategic partnerships and business development. Additionally, Jason Alexander, is joining the company from Nokia (NYSE: NOK), where he was VP Strategic Program Management and responsible for portfolio management and planning.

Bloomberg first reported on the hires, but the Shulman’s vision for the new team was laid out in a memo sent to employees and posted online. The lengthy report outlines the dozens of members that will join the team, which is split up into four business units and three strategic teams reporting to Schulman. It also summaries the huge opportunity that American Express believes rests in mobile payments, including forming relationships with companies, such as Facebook, Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN), Google (NSDQ: GOOG), Apple (NSDQ: AAPL), AOL (NYSE: AOL), Zynga, Twitter and others.

Schulman writes: “The growth opportunities for payment forms outside of our traditional charge and credit products — such as prepaid, payroll cards, remittances and virtual currencies — are expanding quickly, due in part to changing consumer behaviors, rapid economic development and evolving cultural norms across the world. In total, the market for these payment forms is well in excess of $1 trillion and generates disproportionately high growth rates. Capturing even a small market share represents the potential to add billions of dollars of revenue in the coming years.”

American Express bought Revolution Money in January for $305 million, and has since renamed it Serve Enterprise. Jason Hogg, who founded Revolution Money in 2005, will be president of Serve Enterprise and establish standards to open up the company’s payments platform to third-party developers.