Kenneth I. Chenault

DEFINITION of 'Kenneth I. Chenault'

The chairman and CEO of American Express. Chenault joined the company in 1981 as a director of strategic planning and moved through various management positions in the company's different divisions before becoming president and COO in 1997, and chairman and CEO in 2001. Chenault is the third ever African American CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

BREAKING DOWN 'Kenneth I. Chenault'

Born in 1951 in New York, Chenault earned his undergraduate degree from Bowdoin College and his JD from Harvard. He began his career as an associate with Rogers & Wells then worked as a management consultant for Bain & Company before joining American Express. He helped increase the company's market share by expanding its customer base. Chenault achieved this in part by offering credit cards in addition to charge cards and offering membership rewards programs.

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