Published: Sat, January 20, 2018
Culture | By Stewart Greene

Finally! Facebook Appoints First African-American To All-White Board Of Directors

Finally! Facebook Appoints First African-American To All-White Board Of Directors

Kenneth Chenault, the CEO of American Express, has joined Facebook's all white, mostly-male board of directors as the social media giant works to fix its tarnished image and battered brand.

Credit card issuer American Express (AmEx) fell into the red in the fourth quarter, a first in nearly 25 years, due to a heavy burden related to the recent tax reform adopted in the United States.

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.

Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg has expressed excitement following a decision by the outgoing CEO of #American Express #Kenneth Irvine Chenault to join facebook's #Board Of Directors.

"I've been trying to recruit Ken for years", Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement.

Chenault is one of the longest-serving black CEOs of a major US corporation and a veteran in a field long dominated by white men in top management.

The striking lack of people of color in the executive suite and on the boards of Silicon Valley companies won't come as a culture shock to Chenault, one of the longest-serving black CEOs of a major US corporation and a veteran of an industry dominated by white men in its top management ranks.

His hiring follows a contentious meeting between Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg and the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) in October, in which Sandberg promised that the company was in the process of appointing a black individual to the board.

Chenault is also a board member of other high-profile companies including IBM and Proctor & Gamble, as well as a number of nonprofits.

The company has historically failed to hire African Americans and Hispanics in technical roles, with percentages remaining at 1 percent and 3 percent respectively since 2014. The underrepresentation of Blacks in the executive suite and corporate boardrooms of Silicon Valley's finest companies is a huge problem, having created an industry dominated by white male hegemony. "We've continued to exert pressure on technology companies to be more diverse and inclusive". He is one of a few black leaders at a Fortune 500 company.

African-American men hold 5.6% and African-American women 2.2% of board seats at Fortune 500 companies, according to The Executive Leadership Council.

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