Kenneth Chenault seemed to be practicing positive visualization when he announced a sweeping realignment of American Express Co.'s business lines last week.

The new structure is aimed at stepping up cross-selling opportunities and spurring additional growth outside the United States, and indeed Mr. Chenault has reorganized the financial-services conglomerate as if it were already offering all its services globally.

Case in point: The company's largely domestic financial advisory business has been assigned to the international guy. James M. Cracchiolo, who was in charge of international travel, card, and merchant operations, was named president of the global financial services group. The new unit combines international consumer card operations, American Express Financial Advisors, and American Express Bank, which is primarily a private banking business.

Mr. Cracchiolo will move from New York to Minneapolis, where the adviser operation is based, and will take the additional title of chief executive of that business. He is to succeed David R. Hubers, who plans to retire next March.

Analysts said the move indicates big plans for the business, which offers financial planning advice to individuals and has primarily been focused on the U.S. market. Previously the adviser business was separate from card operations.

Having American Express Financial Advisors report to the international group "suggests that there may be plans to expand AEFA around the world, leveraging off the American Express brand and cardmember base," said Kenneth A. Posner, an equity analyst at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter.

The new structure is similar to that of Citigroup Inc., the largest credit card issuer and one of American Express' most formidable competitors. Like Citi, Amex is shedding old-line financial institution divisions and "trying to organize the business around the client," not the product, said Maitland Lammert, an analyst at Edward Jones & Co.

Mr. Chenault is president and chief operating officer and is designated to succeed Harvey Golub in early 2001 as chairman and chief executive. Mr. Golub is retiring.

With the reorganization, American Express has four business lines, each with a group president who reports to Mr. Chenault. A fifth executive, Anne Busquet, was named president of the interactive and information services group.

Edward P. Gilligan, who headed U.S. corporate cards and U.S. business travel will take over the international corporate cards and the leisure and business travel services group.

Alfred F. Kelly Jr., who headed U.S. consumer cards, was named president of the U.S. consumer and small-business services group.

David House, who headed U.S. merchant relations was named president of global establishment services and the travelers check group.

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.