Ken Chenault Ď73 Named Among Top 25 Managers by BusinessWeek
Story posted January 05, 2001
Kenneth I. Chenault í73 has been named among the Top 25 Managers of the Year by BusinessWeek (January 8). Chenault, who with the new year succeeded Harvey Golub as chief executive officer of American Express, had been president and chief operating officer of the company since 1997.
In its cover story, BusinessWeek cites AmExís smooth leadership succession as one reason Chenault, along with Golub, was named to the list (noting the failed succession plans rocking such high profile companies as Campbell Soup, Xerox, Lucent Technologies and others). BusinessWeek also points out that AmEx is on a pace to set a second consecutive annual earnings record, and that their stock rose from 41 to 53 at year end, under Golub and Chenaultís management.
According to BusinessWeek, during his restructuring of AmEx in the mid-Ď90s Golub "shrewdly came to rely" on Chenault, "a first-rate marketer" who had joined the company in 1981. A series of promotions were Chenaultís reward for his "critical contributions to the revival of the AmEx brand."
Mutual trust and respect between the two men led to Chenaultís sharing more and more of Golubís duties over the past few years. Golub announced in 1999 that he would retire in April, 2001, and that Chenault would succeed him. The transition phase went so smoothly, however, that Golub announced in November that the job was done, and he would step down as CEO four months early.
Chenault will be handed the chairmanship from Golub at AmExís annual meeting in April.
The article concludes Chenault "inherits a company in excellent shape, with $2.1 billion in net income on revenues of $16.4 billion through the first nine months of 2000, . . . about 15% ahead of its record-setting results of 1999."
Upon taking over as CEO, Chenault, 49, becomes the first black chief executive of one of the 30 blue-chip companies whose stocks make up the Dow Jones.
After graduating from Bowdoin, Ken Chenault attended Harvard, receiving a JD in 1976. He is married to Kathryn Cassell Chenault, a non-practicing lawyer. They have two sons.
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