Saying that the succession process he began last year is proceeding more smoothly than he had anticipated, Harvey Golub, the top executive at American Express Co., said Friday that he would retire as CEO at yearend, four months sooner than planned.

Mr. Golub, 61, also said he will retire as chairman of the credit card and financial services giant in April, about a year ahead of schedule. Both jobs will pass to his chosen successor, Kenneth I. Chenault, 49, who is now president and chief operating officer.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.