American Express Chairman & CEO Ken Chenault Announces Plans to Step Down

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(American Express Chairman & CEO Ken Chenault.)

American Express Chairman & CEO Ken Chenault has announced his plans to leave his role of 16 years on February 1.

?We?re completing a two-year turnaround ahead of plan and getting ready to start a new chapter,? Chenault said on a call with analysts after the company reported third-quarter profit that beat Wall Street estimates and boosted its full-year earnings forecast. ?Given the progress we?re making, I thought this was the right time to begin the leadership transition.?

?I?ve treasured every day of my 37-year career here,? he said. ?It?s been a journey that spanned profound changes in the world of business.?

?Ken?s been the gold standard for corporate leadership and the benchmark that I measure others against,? business mogul Warren Buffet said in a statement. ?He led the company through 9/11, the financial crisis and the challenges of the last couple of years. American Express always came out stronger.?

A graduate of Bowdoin College and Harvard Law School, Chenault, 66, is counted as the third African American businessperson to lead a Fortune 500 company.