Kenneth I. Chenault
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, American Express Company
Kenneth Chenault joined the company in September 1981 as Director of Strategic Planning. He was named President of the Consumer Card Group in 1989, and in 1993 he became President of Travel Related Services (TRS), which encompassed all of American Express’ card and travel businesses in the United States. In 1995, he assumed additional responsibility for the company’s worldwide card and travel businesses and also was named Vice Chairman of American Express. Chenault became President and Chief Operating Officer in February 1997. He assumed his current responsibilities as CEO on January 1, 2001, and as Chairman on April 23 of that year.
Before he came to American Express, Chenault was a management consultant with Bain & Co. from 1979 to 1981, and an attorney with Rogers & Wells from 1977 to 1979.
Chenault serves on the boards of American Express and several other corporate and nonprofit organizations, including IBM, The Procter & Gamble Company, the Harvard Corporation, the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health, the National Center on Addiction & Substance Abuse at Columbia University, the Smithsonian Institution’s Advisory Council for the National Museum of African American History & Culture, National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center, and the Bloomberg Family Foundation. He also is a member of the Business Council and serves on the Executive Committee of the Business Roundtable as well as the Partnership for New York.
In 2014, Fortune Magazine named Chenault as one the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders in its inaugural list and ranked American Express among 2016’s top fifteen World’s Most Admired Companies.
A wide variety of civic, social service and community organizations have recognized Chenault for his public service leadership. He has received the Phoenix House Public Service Award, the Corporate Responsibility Award from the International Rescue Committee, the Wall Street Rising Leadership Award, and the Hadrian Award from the World Monuments Fund, among others. In addition, he is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Chenault holds a JD from Harvard Law School and a BA in history from Bowdoin College, and has received honorary degrees from several universities.
He and his wife, Kathryn, live in New York City, and they have two sons.
Last Updated: January 2018