Thomas O. Ryder has left American Express Co. after 14 years to become chairman and chief executive officer of Reader's Digest Association Inc.

Mr. Ryder, 53, was president of American Express International, responsible for merchant acceptance and strategic alliances abroad.

He reported to Kenneth I. Chenault, president and chief operating officer.

Mr. Ryder held his last American Express post since 1995, after stints as president of merchant acceptance and of the publishing group.

His publishing accomplishments include the launch of Travel & Leisure and Food & Wine magazines for American Express. Mr. Ryder also was senior vice president of CBS Magazines.

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