American Express Co.Cheif Executive Officer Kenneth Chenault is stepping down after 16 years running the credit-card lender and will be replaced by Steve Squeri. Chenault, 66 will stay on until Feb 1. Squeri, 58 is vice chairman and has been at AmEx for three decades. “We’re completing a 2-year turn around 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.”
A graduate of Harvard Law School, Chenault has been with the firm since 1981 and is one of the longest-serving black CEO’s in the US. After stints as president of the New York-based lender’s travel unit and later chief operating officer, he was named chairman and CEO in 2001. He also serves on the boards of International Bisiness Machines Corp. and Procter & Gamble Co.