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Kenneth I. Chenault ’69

Highlights

September 2021 — Ken Chenault named one of the 100 Most Influential People of 2021 by Time Magazine. According to author Ursula Burns, “When the Kens call, you pick up, because maybe this is your chance to stand on the shoulders of giants and help create a better world for future generations.” Read more…


April 2021 — Ken Chenault discusses why companies must “stand up for the right to vote” on CNN.


December 2020 — Ken Chenault with a coalition of leading CEOs and organizations came together to announce the formation of OneTen, an organization that will combine the power of these committed American companies to upskill, hire and promote one million Black Americans over the next 10 years into family-sustaining jobs with opportunities for advancement. Learn more…


February 2019 —An Evening With Ken Chenault” premiered on PBS, and was produced by The HistoryMakers, the nation’s largest African American video oral history archive.

The show not only provides a master class on corporate and civic leadership, but features interviews of those who know and have worked with Ken Chenault over his career.

“An Evening With Ken Chenault” peers behind the veil of Chenault’s rise to the head of one of the world’s most successful companies, and sheds light on his effective leadership as well as his legacy. – PBS

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Biography

Kenneth I. Chenault is Chairman and Managing Director, General Catalyst

As a managing director at General Catalyst, Ken focuses on investing in fast-growing companies that have the potential to become large, fundamental institutions. He also provides invaluable guidance to portfolio companies, particularly to those with an eye towards global markets and responsible innovation, as they scale their teams and products.  As chairman, Ken leverages his renowned leadership abilities and experience to continue to evolve General Catalyst into a formidable and enduring firm.

Prior to joining General Catalyst, Ken Chenault was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of American Express Company, a position he held from 2001 to 2018. He joined American Express in 1981 as Director of Strategic Planning and served subsequently in a number of increasingly senior positions, including Vice Chairman and President and Chief Operating Officer, until his appointment as CEO.  Under his leadership, American Express built one of the world’s largest customer loyalty programs – Membership Rewards – and earned global recognition as a leader in customer service.

Ken is recognized as one of the business world’s experts on brands and brand management and has been honored by multiple publications including Fortune Magazine, which named him as one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders in its inaugural list in 2014.

Ken serves on the boards of Airbnb, Facebook, IBM, The Procter & Gamble Company, the Harvard Corporation and numerous nonprofit organizations, including the Smithsonian Institution’s Advisory Council for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, and Bloomberg Philanthropies.  He also serves on the board of trustees for NYU Langone Health.

Ken holds a JD from Harvard Law School and a BA in history from Bowdoin College.  He has also received honorary degrees from several universities and awards from a wide variety of civic, social service, and community organizations.

He and his wife, Kathryn, live in New York City, and they have two sons.

Updated September 2021

 

Kenneth I. Chenault '69

Business & Finance
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Kenneth I. Chenault '69

Business & Finance

Highlights

September 2021 — Ken Chenault named one of the 100 Most Influential People of 2021 by Time Magazine. According to author Ursula Burns, “When the Kens call, you pick up, because maybe this is your chance to stand on the shoulders of giants and help create a better world for future generations.” Read more…


April 2021 — Ken Chenault discusses why companies must “stand up for the right to vote” on CNN.


December 2020 — Ken Chenault with a coalition of leading CEOs and organizations came together to announce the formation of OneTen, an organization that will combine the power of these committed American companies to upskill, hire and promote one million Black Americans over the next 10 years into family-sustaining jobs with opportunities for advancement. Learn more…


February 2019 —An Evening With Ken Chenault” premiered on PBS, and was produced by The HistoryMakers, the nation’s largest African American video oral history archive.

The show not only provides a master class on corporate and civic leadership, but features interviews of those who know and have worked with Ken Chenault over his career.

“An Evening With Ken Chenault” peers behind the veil of Chenault’s rise to the head of one of the world’s most successful companies, and sheds light on his effective leadership as well as his legacy. – PBS

 Read More


Biography

Kenneth I. Chenault is Chairman and Managing Director, General Catalyst

As a managing director at General Catalyst, Ken focuses on investing in fast-growing companies that have the potential to become large, fundamental institutions. He also provides invaluable guidance to portfolio companies, particularly to those with an eye towards global markets and responsible innovation, as they scale their teams and products.  As chairman, Ken leverages his renowned leadership abilities and experience to continue to evolve General Catalyst into a formidable and enduring firm.

Prior to joining General Catalyst, Ken Chenault was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of American Express Company, a position he held from 2001 to 2018. He joined American Express in 1981 as Director of Strategic Planning and served subsequently in a number of increasingly senior positions, including Vice Chairman and President and Chief Operating Officer, until his appointment as CEO.  Under his leadership, American Express built one of the world’s largest customer loyalty programs – Membership Rewards – and earned global recognition as a leader in customer service.

Ken is recognized as one of the business world’s experts on brands and brand management and has been honored by multiple publications including Fortune Magazine, which named him as one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders in its inaugural list in 2014.

Ken serves on the boards of Airbnb, Facebook, IBM, The Procter & Gamble Company, the Harvard Corporation and numerous nonprofit organizations, including the Smithsonian Institution’s Advisory Council for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, and Bloomberg Philanthropies.  He also serves on the board of trustees for NYU Langone Health.

Ken holds a JD from Harvard Law School and a BA in history from Bowdoin College.  He has also received honorary degrees from several universities and awards from a wide variety of civic, social service, and community organizations.

He and his wife, Kathryn, live in New York City, and they have two sons.

Updated September 2021