Despite Kenneth I. Chenault announcing that he would retire as Chief Executive Officer of American Express last fall, the 66-year-old executive isn’t planning on going under the radar any time soon.
He became Facebook’s first non-white board member earlier this month, marking the social media giant’s latest appointment since 2014. He also joined the board of one of tech’s mega-unicorns, sharing economy giant Airbnb, and is already on the board of International Business Machines Corp. and Procter & Gamble.
Most recently, venture capital firm General Catalyst Partners announced that Mr. Chenault will serve full-time as the firm’s Chairman and Managing Director.
Chenault, who steered Amex through 9/11 and the financial crisis, was in charge of the financial services company since 2001. Described by the Wall Street Journal as “one of the country’s most prominent African-American corporate leaders,” Kenneth had his fair share of offers after leaving the credit card company officially on Feb 1st.
“I literally have been inundated,” he told the WSJ, suggesting that people have talked to him from both very large companies and digital technology firms, although he could not name specifics due to confidentiality.
General Catalyst is one of the most prominent venture capital firms in the last two decades, has made high profile investments in market disruptors such as Airbnb, Snap, Stripe and Warby Parker. Founded in 2000 in Cambridge, MA, General Catalyst has managed eight venture capital funds totaling about $3.75 billion in capital commitments.
In entering Silicon Valley, Chenault hopes that he can help out a maturing digital space, wherein he sees many firms failing to meet the demands of society. “Companies are starting to realize that they are growing up, and in growing up, they have to assume some broader responsibilities,” he stated. Chenault also plans to tackle other issues including the lack of diversity in gender and race within the tech industry.