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Kenneth Chenault, one of the most prominent black businessmen and long-time chairman and CEO of American Express, is retiring next year. | Sun-Times file photo

American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault to retire next year

SHARE American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault to retire next year
SHARE American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault to retire next year

NEW YORK — Kenneth Chenault, one of the most prominent black businessmen and long-time chairman and CEO of American Express, is retiring next year.

Chenault, who is 66, took over as CEO in 2001 and guided the company through several seismic events, including the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. The company’s headquarters in Manhattan is next door to the site of the World Trade Center.

He also led the company through the financial crisis and subsequent Great Recession of 2008. While American Express did not hold any mortgages, its direct exposure to the U.S. consumer put significant pressure on its business model.

The announcement comes at the same time as American Express announced its third-quarter results, a profit of $1.36 billion, or $1.50 a share, which beat analysts’ expectations.

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