After retiring from American Express February 1st of this year, Kenneth Chenault will become Facebook’s first African American member of its board of directors.  In a Newsroom Post, current Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sited Chenault’s unique experience in “customer service, direct commerce and building a trusted brand” as the reasons for adding him to the Facebook team.

Rev Jesse Jackson immediately praised the appointment in a tweet seen below

Kenneth Chenault was the CEO of American Express since 2001 where under his leadership Warren Buffet considered the company apart of his “Big Four” long-term investments (along with Coca-Cola, IBM, and Wells Fargo).  As one of the longest serving CEOs (and one of the few to step down and not be fired from his post), Chenault became a well known leader helping establish American Express as a consistently admired business and solid returns.  The former CEO helped expand Amex’s business beyond its traditional core of wealthy and corporate customers and partnered with airline and hotel credit cards including Hilton, Delta, and more. This “expansion helped Amex to become the credit card issuer with the highest consumer spending in the US.” and led to a $13 billion increase in annual revenue since he took over the company in 2001.

The addition of Chenault is a good one for Facebook and should bring with it a better understanding of the consumer market and quite possibly, options for Facebook financing.  Only time will tell on the later point though.

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