Diversity Moves: Facebook Adds Its First Black Board Director: American Express’ Kenneth Chenault

What a powerful diversity move, today Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that longtime outgoing American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault will be joining Facebook’s Board of Directors as its first African American director, effective February 5, 2018. Diversity is one of the most important and pressing issues facing corporate America today, so this move is more than welcome by many across the nation, especially investors who are currently pushing boards to improve diversity in terms of ethnicity, gender, skills and sexual orientation. A CNN article highlights that nearly “70% of board seats at Fortune 500 companies are held by white men, according to a study from the Alliance for Board Diversity.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote a Facebook post today and had this to say about Kenneth Chenault’s appointment:

I’m excited to announce that Kenneth Chenault, the outgoing CEO of American Express, has agreed to join Facebook’s Board of Directors:

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 strong sense of social mission and the perspective that comes from running an important public company for decades.

Adding someone to our board is one of the most important decisions our board makes. It’s a long process that I take very seriously since this is the group that ultimately governs Facebook. 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.

Welcome Ken, and I’m looking forward to working with you on our board!

Silicon Valley still has work to do in terms of diversity, but Facebook is to be applauded for taking action on this important issue. I believe many are excited about Kenneth Chenault’s appointment. Hopefully this will motivate other companies to  work towards greater diversity as well.

Read the press release, here.

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