Kenneth I. Chenault was born June 2, 1951 in Long Island. He graduated from Bowdoin College and Harvard Law School. He worked for a couple of law firms before beginning his career at American Express in 1981.
When he became CEO of the company, in 2001, he was just the third black CEO of a Fortune 500 company in history. He has been credited with revitalizing the company’s brand, winning back corporate clients who had abandoned the company because of high fees and boosting morale in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks. He is co-chair of the Business Roundtable and a 2002 inductee into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame.