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Kenneth Chenault



Kenneth Irvine Chenault (born June 2, 1951) is an American business executive. He has been the CEO and Chairman of American Express since 2001. He is the third African-American CEO of a Fortune 500 company.


Early life, education, and legal career

Chenault was born in Mineola, New York, Nassau County, as the son of a dentist and dental hygienist. His father was Hortenius Chenault a graduate of Morehouse College in Georgia, and a 1939 graduate from Howard University Dental School. Dr. Chenault passed the New York State dental exam with the highest score ever recorded as of January 2014. He attended the alternative Waldorf School of Garden City, where he served as senior class president. He then received B.A. in history from Bowdoin College in 1973, and J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1976 (on Monday, February 10, 2014, it was announced that he had been elected to fill a vacated seat of the Harvard Corporation; the Corporation is the chief fiduciary authority of the University and is the smaller of the two governing boards, the other being the Harvard Board of Overseers.

After Harvard, he worked as an associate at the law firm Rogers & Wells (1977-1979) in New York City, and as a consultant for Bain & Company (1979-1981).

CEO of American Express

He joined American Express in 1981, working in the Strategic Planning Group. He became president and chief operating officer in 1997.

He became CEO of American Express in 2001.

While CEO of American Express in 2007, Chenault earned a total compensation of $50,126,585, and in 2008, he earned a total compensation of $42,752,461. In 2009, he earned a total compensation of $16,617,639, which included a base salary of $1,201,923, a cash bonus of $10,450,000, an option grant of $3,985,637, and other compensation worth $980,079.

He is currently co-chair of the Business Roundtable,[13] a director at IBM, and a member at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a member of the Executive Committee of The Business Council for 2011 and 2012.

In 1995, Ebony listed him as one of 50 “living pioneers” in the African-American community. Chenault was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 2002. In 2008, he gave the commencement address at Howard University.

In May 2010, he gave the commencement speech at Wake Forest University and Northeastern University.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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