According to a Wednesday official announcement from American Express, its 17-year CEO Kenneth Chenault is going to step down from his position in February next year. His successor is going to be Stephen Squeri.
Chenault has been at the company for 37 years and has been its CEO for 17. He was named back in 2001 and, at 66-years old, he is one of the first African American people to run a Fortune 500 company. It’s interesting that the shares of American Express have not been the greatest, especially since the ending of the Costco Wholesale partnership back in February 2015. Since then, its stock has only returned 12%, which is not a very encouraging number for such a company.
American Express CEO to step down after 17 years
As for his track record, Chennault had both good and not-so-good periods of time. Nothing spectacular happened with the company while he was in charge. As for Stephen Squeri, he has been the company’s vice chairman since 2015. Before that, he was the president of American Express’ global corporate services group.
As the new CEO, Squeri will have the mission to help guide the company into its next phase. It’s interesting that he has also been the mind behind the company’s commercial payments business. He is also credited with changing the technology infrastructure at American Express. The most recent restructuring effort was also led by him. So, he has been a very important player in the company for years. Now, things will become official.
American Express’ largest shareholder, Berkshire Hathaway, has been bolstering the brand for years. Hathaway also has an almost 17% stake. In a statement, Warren Buffet from Berkshire said that Chenault was the man who began building on the history of this great brand. He didn’t abandon tradition but added new and interesting thing to it. Buffett also said that he first invested into American Express 53 years ago.
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