Facebook announced on Thursday that it will bring Kenneth Chenault, the CEO of American Express, on to its board.
Chenault, one of the most prominent black corporate leader will become the first African-American board member at the social media giant.
His hiring follows a contentious meeting between Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg and the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) in October, in which Sandberg promised that the company was in the process of appointing a black individual to the board.
“We get a lot of lip service from the technology companies,” Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), who is a member of the CBC, told reporters at the time. “We’ve continued to exert pressure on technology companies to be more diverse and inclusive. Not only will it help their bottom line, but it will make America stronger.”
Chenault will also become one of a few black board members at major technology firms across Silicon Valley, joining others like Ursula Burns at Uber and Debra Lee at Twitter.
“I’ve been trying to recruit Ken for years. He has unique expertise in areas I believe Facebook needs to learn and improve — customer service, direct commerce, and building a trusted brand,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement announcing Chenault’s hiring.
“Ken also has a sense of social mission and integrity I admire and the perspective that comes from running an important public company for decades.”
Chenault is also a board member at IBM and has been working at American Express since 1981.