Chenault to Lead AmEx in 21st CenturyAmerican Express, the corporate giant that sends hundreds of millions of direct mail solicitations to consumers each year, this week confirmed that Kenneth Chenault will succeed Harvey Golub as chairman/CEO in April 2001.
Chenault, 48, who has been with AmEx since 1981, is known for his ability to maximize strategic marketing opportunities. He was put in charge of the company's restructuring plan in 1995 and led a number of successful new card product offerings, membership affinity programs and co-branded direct response campaigns.
For several months, Chenault was expected to become the first African American appointed as CEO of a Fortune 500 company. But Franklin Raines won that distinction more than three months ago when he left his job at the White House as budget director for the CEO position at Fannie Mae.
Insiders say Chenault's visionary, long-term goal-oriented focus will serve the company well as it charts its long-term strategy into a century that will bring daunting technological change and demand to marketers of financial products and services.
Chenault joined American Express in 1981 shortly after graduating from Harvard Law School.