American Express? That'll do nicely, especially in North America, where the brand remains arguably the card of choice for business users. But increasingly the company is out to capture the hearts, minds and purses of ordinary consumers in order to counter sharp declines in corporate expenditure. This has pushed American Express into fierce competition with credit card operators Visa and MasterCard, who have tried unsuccessfully to block any further inroads by their smaller rival. Those anti-competitive practices were finally blocked by the US Supreme Court in 2004. Unlike its main credit rivals, all of whose business is transacted via a global network of partner banks, American Express actually maintains a direct relationship with the vast majority of its 89m-plus cardholders. It is the world's largest card-issuer by far.
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Adbrands Weekly Update 19th Oct 2017: Kenneth Chenault, long-serving CEO of American Express, will retire in Feb next year after 16 years. He will surrender the role of chairman as well, rather than remaining in that role for a further period. His successor is Stephen Squeri, current vice chairman and former head of the corporate cards division. Chenault's retirement is particularly significant as it will reduce the number of African-American CEOs among Fortune 500 companies by a quarter, from four to just three. Two of the remaining three are also either at or heading towards retirement age. Several commentators identified the lack of succession planning at large corporations to groom the next generation of non-white leaders.
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