American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault has been added to the board of directors at Facebook. Chenault will be the first black member of the board at Facebook.
Late in 2017, Facebook promised that it would add a person of color to the board of directors. CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg said that Chenault was someone he’d had his eye on for a long time to fill the position.
“I’ve been trying to recruit Ken for years,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post announcing the news. “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, a New York native has been CEO of American Express since 2001. He also sits on the board of IBM and has a position on the Council on Foreign Relations.
Facebook came under fire from the Congressional Black Caucus about its lack of diversity but was not just giving lip service when it vowed to expand the board, which was a concern of the Caucus.
The CBC is apparently pleased with Chenault’s selection and hopes that this is a signal that Silicon Valley is becoming more inclusive.
“I’m pleased to see Facebook taking real action to address the issue of diversity within their company,” said Representative Robin Kelly (D-Illinois). “When we began this dialogue with Facebook, we expected swift action, and this decision is without a doubt a step in the right direction.”