America’s largest lenders made an epic mistake a decade ago when they cashed out of Visa and Mastercard through initial public offerings, says Chenault, who will step down in February as CEO of American Express.
When Equifax disclosed its enormous data breach that exposed the personal information of some 143 million people, the reaction of many consumers and corporate executives was similar and familiar: our data is at risk at all times and the less access we give to others the better. But that's precisely the wrong lesson.
The Wyomissing, Pa.-based firm is forgoing cash offers in favor of a more complicated plan that involves spinning the unit off to shareholders, who will then trade their stakes for shares in a Clearwater, Fla., community bank in a tax-free exchange.
There's never an easy time to change leaders, but for American Express it's a particularly challenging time as it faces legal challenges to a core part of its fee structure and is still revamping its business model after a stinging client loss.