- NAME: Kenneth Chenault
- OCCUPATION: Business Leader
- BIRTH DATE: June 02, 1951 (Age: 62)
- Did You Know?: Kenneth Chenault is one of the first African Americans to become CEO of a Fortune 500 firm, American Express.
- EDUCATION: Waldorf School, Bowdoin College, Harvard Law School
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Mineola, New York
- Full Name: Kenneth Irvine Chenault
- AKA: Kenneth Chenault
- AKA: Ken Chenault
- ZODIAC SIGN: Gemini
Best Known For
Kenneth Chenault is best known as CEO of American Express and one of the first African Americans to lead a Fortune 500 company.
Think you know about Biography?
Answer questions and see how you rank against other players.Play Now
Kenneth Chenault was born on June 2, 1951, in Mineola, New York. He worked as an attorney before transitioning into business, joining American Express in 1981. Chenault was named CEO of American Express in 2001, becoming one of the first African Americans to hold this position in a Fortune 500 company.
Kenneth Irvine Chenault was born on June 2, 1951, in Mineola, New York. His parents worked in a dental office as a dentist and a hygienist. Chenault attended the Waldorf School of Garden City, New York. He graduated from Bowdoin College with a degree in History in 1973. Three years later, he graduated from the Harvard Law School.
Chenault began working at the law firm of Rogers & Wells in New York City following his graduation from Harvard. He soon moved on from the firm. After a brief stint in legal practice, he joined Bain & Company as a consultant.
Chenault joined American Express in 1981. He took a position in the languishing merchandizing department, reviving it and leading his team to significant success. He launched lucrative corporate partnerships with companies including Delta Airlines.
In 1997, Chenault was named president and chief operating officer of American Express. He was named CEO in 2001—becoming one of the first African Americans to lead a Fortune 500 company. He is credited with guiding the company through the economic and personal devastation of the September 11 attacks in New York, just across the street from American Express headquarters.
In addition to his primary professional duties, Chenault has served on the boards of countless academic, professional and civic organizations. Among the causes to which he devotes his time are the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center Foundation and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. He has delivered commencement addresses at Howard University, Wake Forest University and Northeastern University.
Chenault lives in New Rochelle, New York, with his wife, Kathryn, and sons Kevin and Kenneth Jr. He enjoys skiing and golf and is a member of a gender-segregated Augusta Golf Club, to which he has publicly advocated the admission of women.
© 2014 A+E Networks. All rights reserved.
profile name: Kenneth Chenault profile occupation:
Sign in with Facebook to see how you and your friends are connected to famous icons.
Your Friends' Connections
Included In These Groups
Explore Biography.com's collection of African-American entrepreneurs and industry leaders, including Edward T. Lewis, Madam C.J. Walker, Elijah McCoy, Oprah Winfrey, Allen Allensworth, Tyra Banks and Wally Amos. View full biographies, photos, videos and more, only at Biography.com.
African-American Firsts: Entrepreneurs 18 people in this group
Famous Geminis 556 people in this group
Famous People Born in 1951 76 people in this group