The Clearing House Appoints Truist’s Sal Karakaplan as Chief Strategy Officer

U.S. payments network operator The Clearing House (TCH) is onboarding a new chief strategy officer (CSO).

Sal Karakaplan will be joining the company, bringing over 25 years of experience in banking and payments to his new role, TCH said in a Monday (Dec. 11) news release.

Karakaplan served as the executive vice president for the enterprise payments group at Truist Financial, where he was involved in developing the bank’s payments strategy, per the release. He has also held executive payments roles at JPMorgan Chase and MasterCard.

At TCH, Karakaplan’s main focus as CSO will be to enhance and execute the company’s strategic vision, the release said. This will involve market strategy and growth plans, strategic partnerships, as well as exploration, incubation and innovation.

“I’m excited to bring my payments know-how to The Clearing House,” Karakaplan said in a statement. “I look forward to working with the TCH team on strategic opportunities to enhance the company’s position as the leading payments provider in the United States.”

David Watson, TCH president and CEO, said he believed Karakaplan’s appointment was a boon to the company.

“Sal is a great addition to The Clearing House,” Watson said in the release. “His payments background and experience in the banking industry, combined with his alignment to our values will be an asset as we develop new ways to work with partners to enhance existing products and create innovative offerings for our customers.”

Karakaplan is joining the TCH shortly after the company picked its new chief product officer. 

Margaret Weichert joined the TCH in October, PYMNTS reported at the time, after serving as the North American payments practice lead for Accenture. 

PYMNTS also noted the addition of Sheffali Welch, chief operating officer, and the promotion of existing executive-team member Elena Whisler to chief client officer, earlier this year. CEO Watson also joined the company in January. 

These appointments come as more companies favor real-time transactions for B2B payments.

According to a PYMNTS Intelligence study created in collaboration with The Clearing House, most U.S. manufacturing companies are prioritizing a move toward real-time payments.

Corporate Changes in Payment Practices: A Deep Dive Into the Manufacturing Sector,” a report examining trends in real-time payments in the manufacturing sector, found that despite widespread adoption, real-time systems only account for 15% of all payments issued by manufacturing companies. 

Despite that statistic, these companies value real-time payments for their speed and availability to track payments, two features that differentiate them from the other payment options. Manufacturers also cited the ability to improve B2B relationships with clients or suppliers as another benefit of the payment method. 

These factors led 86% of respondents to set real-time payments as a priority in their operations in 2024, with nearly 6 in 10 planning to make more real-time payments next year.