Ken Chenault, former leader of American Express and current chairman of General Catalyst, to keynote Executive Leadership Forum

Ken Chenault portrait

Kenneth Chenault, former leader of American Express and currently chairman of one of the leading venture capital firms in Silicon Valley, will offer his insights and opinions on global business, the American economy and more when he keynotes the Executive Leadership Forum, an effort by the State University of New York at Old Westbury to bring icons of American business to Long Island.

To be held on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 at Crest Hollow Country Club, in Woodbury, New York, the Forum is expected to include Mr. Chenault’s remarks on the current state of the domestic and global economy, key areas where growth and investment can occur, keys to management and corporate success, and the opportunities that lie ahead for American business.  The Forum is set to begin at 11:30 a.m.  Ticket and sponsorship information is available by calling (516) 876-3207.

“Ken Chenault is among the most recognized and powerful financial executives in the world, and I am very excited that he has agreed to join us for our Executive Leadership Forum,” said College President Calvin O. Butts, III.  “I am certain his remarks will be topical, provocative, and meaningful to all of us as we seek to create a better economic future for ourselves, our families, and our Long Island community.”

Through the Executive Leadership Forum series, the College seeks to bring thought-leaders from an array of industries and disciplines to provide their perspectives on leadership, ethics, the everyday challenges they face, and impacts of current affairs on international industry and society.  Proceeds from the event will benefit the Old Westbury College Foundation, Inc., the not-for-profit organization that raises funds to support the College’s academic and student service offerings.

Known for his exceptional leadership, Mr. Chenault retired in January after serving since 2001 as Chairman and CEO of American Express, the Fortune 100 global services company with total assets of $159 billion and $1 trillion in worldwide billed business. He joined American Express in 1981 as Director of Strategic Planning and served subsequently in a number of increasingly senior positions, including Vice Chairman and President and Chief Operating Officer, until his appointment as CEO. Under his leadership, American Express built one of the world’s largest customer loyalty programs – Membership Rewards – and earned global recognition as a leader in customer service.

Last month, he began his tenure as Chairman and Managing Director of General Catalyst, a venture capital firm that has made early-stage and transformational investments for such market leading technology companies as Airbnb, ClassPass, Datto, HubSpot, KAYAK, Snap, and Warby Parker. In his role as a managing director at General Catalyst, he focuses on investing in fast-growing companies that have the potential to become large, fundamental institutions. He also provides invaluable guidance to portfolio companies, particularly those with an eye towards global markets and responsible innovation, as they scale their teams and products. In his role as chairman, Mr. Chenault leverages his renowned leadership abilities and experience to continue to evolve General Catalyst into a formidable and enduring firm.

He is recognized as one of the business world’s experts on brands and brand management and has been honored by multiple publications including Fortune Magazine, which named him as one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders in its inaugural list in 2014.

Mr. Chenault serves on the boards of Airbnb, Facebook, IBM, The Procter & Gamble Company, the Harvard Corporation and numerous nonprofit organizations, including the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health, the Smithsonian Institution’s Advisory Council for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation, and the Bloomberg Family Foundation. He is also is a member of the Business Council and serves on the Executive Committee of the Business Roundtable.

Mr. Chenault graduated from Bowdoin College in 1973 with a degree in History and from the Harvard Law School in 1976. He has also received honorary degrees from several universities and awards from a wide variety of civic, social service, and community organizations.

About The Old Westbury College Foundation, Inc.

The Old Westbury College Foundation, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to assisting SUNY College at Old Westbury in becoming a flagship comprehensive college in the SUNY system. The Foundation’s mission is to provide resources, develop relationships, and offer guidance to ensure continuous progress in the development of the College's academic programs, student life, and community relations. For more information on The Old Westbury College Foundation, Inc., visit