News Archive 2009-2018

Kenneth Chenault ’73, H’96 Joins Board of Second Tech Company, Airbnb Archives

Kenneth Chenault at Bowdoin’s 2015 “The Power of the Liberal Arts Symposium”

A week after Facebook announced it had appointed Kenneth Chenault ’73, H’96 to its board of directors (where he joins Netflix cofounder and CEO Reed Hastings ’83 on the eight-member board), Airbnb delivered the news that it had also succeeded in persuading the outgoing American Express CEO to its board.

Chenault, who was included in Fortune’s 2014 list of “The World’s 50 Greatest Leaders,” and described by the magazine as “the most accomplished leader in global finance,” has been with American Express since 1981. He stepped into his current leadership role in 2001. Last fall, Chenault, who has a law degree from Harvard, announced that his last day at the company would be Feb. 1.

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said in a public letter, “As the CEO of American Express, Ken has built one of the most successful trust-based companies in the world. It is a company that has endured and innovated for nearly 168 years. Ken and I spent time talking about the 21st-century model and in particular the role of trust as the infrastructure for such a model. Ken also believes deeply that, now more than ever, companies need to stand for values, character, and competence.”

In his own statement, Chenault wrote, “I’ve been inspired by the way Airbnb has turned a simple, yet powerful idea – opening the doors to strangers – into a global movement that has brought millions of people together and I am looking forward to working with Brian and the entire Airbnb team as they build for the future.”

As at Facebook, Chenault will be Airbnb’s first black board member. Read more at Forbes.