Facebook announced Kenneth I. Chenault, CEO of American Express, as one of the board of directors today. His appointment becomes effective Feb. 5, 2018.
In a press release, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook said, “I’ve been trying to recruit Ken for years. He has unique expertise in areas I believe Facebook needs to learn and improve — customer service, direct commerce, and building a trusted brand. Ken also has a sense of social mission and integrity I admire and the perspective that comes from running an important public company for decades.”
Chenault, joined American Express in 1981. Since 2001, he has been Chairman and CEO of the massive financial services company. In addition to being on Facebook’s board, Chenault serves on the boards of IBM, the Harvard Corporation, Procter & Gamble and others.
When compared to Facebook’s other board members, Chenault is black. In fact, Chenault is the first black person to serve on Facebook’s board of directors.
Chenault said in a press release, “I’m delighted to join the board and look forward to working with Mark and the other directors as Facebook continues to build communities that help bring people closer to friends, family and the world around them.”
The Congressional Black Caucus met with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg in last October to discuss the need for black people at the top. At that time, Sandberg reportedly said Facebook would soon be appointing an African-American to its board of directors.
African-Americans are unfortunately rare to been seen as board of directors for tech companies. According to a survey by the Rainbow PUSH Coalition in 2014, Industry-wide, there were only three black people and one Hispanic person sitting on the boards of directors at 20 major tech companies.
In 2015, one of those numbers increased, when Apple added James Bell, an African-American, to the company’s board of directors. Bell, is not the first black person to serve on the board, but he is the only black person currently serving on Apple’s board of directors. A major tech company who doesn’t have any African-American nor Latinx people on its board of directors is Alphabet.
Featured Image: Photo by Michael Cohen/Getty Images for The New York Times/Getty Images
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