Facebook is adding American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault to its board. "Ken and I have had dinners discussing our mission and strategy for years, and he has already helped me think through some of the bigger issues I'm hoping we take on this year". In a blog post celebrating the news, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg praised Chenault's decades-long career with American Express and his expertise in brand building. American Express said it now estimates that it will face a $2.6 billion "charge" because of the new law.
Kenneth Chenault is credited for propelling the American Express to reach record numbers of new customers and to become a market leader in customer service.
The promise came during a tense meeting between Facebook's chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg and the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), who chastised the company for not being diverse enough.
Top universities turn out black and Hispanic computer science and computer engineering graduates at twice the rate that leading technology companies hire them, USA TODAY research showed.
His role at Facebook, like that of other directors, is undermined by the fact that founder Mark Zuckerberg holds control of the company due to its share structure. "Progress has been slow and we will continue to press companies to enact inclusive hiring policies". The underrepresentation of Blacks in the executive suite and corporate boardrooms of Silicon Valley's finest companies is a huge problem, having created an industry dominated by white male hegemony.
Chenault joined American Express in 1981. He serves on the boards of IBM, Procter & Gamble and non-profit groups including the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health.
In 2014, Chenault was included in Fortune magazine's compilation, "The World's 50 Greatest Leaders", in which he was described as "the most accomplished leader in global finance". He also took a lead role in raising money for the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Also in a Facebook post, Sandberg said AmEx thrived under his leadership, and that as a Facebook client, Chenault was always honest. Facebook employed 152 black men and 107 black women out of a total of 11,241 employees in 2016, according to Facebook's EEO-1, the workforce demographics report that the company files each year with the federal government.