Published: Sun, January 21, 2018
Money | By Armando Alvarado

About Time: Facebook Appoints Their First Non-White Board Member

About Time: Facebook Appoints Their First Non-White Board Member

Chenault has been the CEO and Chairman of AmEx since 2001, and has been with the company since 1981.

Facebook has named Kenneth Chenault '73, H'96 "one of the nation's most prominent black corporate members...and a highly regarded finance executive", to its board of directors, USA Today reports.

The board of Facebook has an odd role.

Civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson has for years been lobbying Fortune 1000 companies, including Facebook, to add people of color to their boards.

Describing the business executive as a professional who has a sense of social mission and perspective from a wealth of experience in running an important public company for many years, Zuckerberg noted that Chenault's expertise will help improve Facebook in many areas.

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The move is significant for the company: It marks the first black member appointed to Facebook's now all-white board.

His role at Facebook, like that of other directors, is undermined by the fact that founder Mark Zuckerberg holds control of the company due to its share structure. "I'm pleased to see Facebook taking real action to address the issue of diversity within their company", said Representative Robin Kelly (D-IL). Discount revenue - fees charged to merchants for accepting the company's cards - remained its largest revenue source at $5.08 billion, up 6% from the previous quarter.

Although the company stated that revenue from interest expenses was up 10% to $8.8bn, Amex said recent reforms to the United States tax code meant the company incurred extra costs, including a repatriation cost on its foreign assets as well as a devaluation of its deferred tax assets. He will join February 5 and will retire from Amex on February 1. He's on multiple boards, including IBM, Procter & Gamble and the Smithsonian's Advisory Council for the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Less than 5% of the 200 largest USA companies are led by African Americans, according to a 2016 report from recruitment firm Spencer Stuart. "As a Facebook client, Ken always gave honest feedback and pushed us to do better", Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said in a post welcoming Chenault.

Chenault was the second black Fortune 500 CEO to announce plans to step down in 2017, along with Xerox Corp.'s Ursula Burns.

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