In addition, adding the CEO of American Express to the board is valuable for Facebook as they are trying to step into the payments space. In a blog post celebrating the news, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg praised Chenault's decades-long career with American Express and his expertise in brand building. "Ken and I have had dinners discussing our mission and strategy for years, and he has already helped me think through some of the bigger issues I'm hoping we take on this year". After a 17-year tenure, he retires from American Express on February 1, and will become Facebook's newest director four days later.
Chenault is also on the boards of IBM and Procter & Gamble, two deeply troubled companies.
A few months ago, Facebook vowed to add a black person to its board of directors amidst criticism that the company's C-suite lacked diversity. His role at Facebook will become effective four days later.
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Companies used to be able to keep those earnings offshore and avoid paying USA taxes, but the Republican-backed tax code eliminated that. He will be the company's first African American board member. The percentage of African Americans in senior leadership positions at Facebook has also barely changed.
And the actual numbers of African Americans and Hispanics working at Facebook in the US remain small.
The company continues to struggle to diversify its workforce, too.
Credit card issuer American Express posted its first quarterly loss in 26 years, and said it would not buy back shares for the next six months, both due to the impact of the recently enacted U.S. tax reform.
Less than 5 percent of the 200 largest US companies are led by African-Americans, according to a 2016 report from recruitment firm Spencer Stuart, USA Today reported. He also took a lead role in raising money for the National Museum of African American History and Culture. "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. Facebook employed 152 black men and 107 black women out of a total of 11,241 employees in 2016, according to Facebook's EEO-1, the workforce demographics report that the company files each year with the federal government.