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American Express' strong financial performance in 2016 meant
CEO Ken Chenault received his target "total direct compensation" of
$22 million for the year, a 19 percent year-over-year increase, according to a
March 21 filling with the SEC. However, a portion of that pay has been attached
to long-term performance, so the amount he is taking home immediately for 2016
has decreased from 2015.
Amex's compensation and benefits committee reallocated the
$6.6 million annual incentive award portion of that $22 million into long-term
incentives instead of a bonus entirely or partly in cash, the filing showed. With
that change, 91 percent of Chenault's 2016 compensation is tied to long-term
and stock-based incentives. The remaining 9 percent is his $2 million base
Chenault's target total direct compensation has remained at
$22 million since 2014.
In 2014 the committee decided to award Chenault more owing to a “solid performance against specific goals” and Chenault’s overall leadership contributions to Amex’s success. That year, net income increased 10 percent to $5.9 billion, earnings per share rose 14 percent, revenue rose 4 percent and return on average equity rose from 27.8 percent to 29.1 percent. Amex then cut Chenault's 2015 compensation 26
percent because the card network missed several financial goals, including
its minimum earnings-per-share target of $5.18. Thus, based on SEC-reporting
standards, Chenault's salary has decreased consecutively for the past three
For this past year, Amex's compensation and benefits
committee said, it has awarded the $22 million because the card network exceeded
its initial earnings guidance of $5.93 per share, achieved a record number of
new cards in the fourth quarter, added 1 million U.S. merchants, made traction
on its two-year plan to remove $1 billion from its overall cost base by the end
of 2017 and to enhance growth, and strengthened its card member rewards. All that
supports future revenue growth for the company, according to the filing.
Still, the committee reallocated portions of Chenault's
compensation because those cost-reduction and growth efforts are ongoing.
"While acknowledging that the company exceeded initial expectations and
made significant progress in 2016, the committee also recognized that
additional work lies ahead to reset the company's trajectory toward profitable
growth and high returns," the filing noted.
Two New Hires
Amex Global Commercial Payments, the division that houses
corporate cards within Global Commercial Services, has hired Andy Nicholas as
VP and general manager of international global business development and Ken
Sebastian as VP of U.S. global business development. Both will report to Lisa
Marks, Amex VP and GCP general manager of global business development.
Nicholas, who is based in London, and his team will sell
"new travel and entertainment solutions to multinational and global
companies" and create "customized and scalable business-to-business
solutions for large corporations," according to Amex. He joined from
Citibank, where he served as head of commercial and pre-paid card sales and
account management for EMEA.
who is based in Atlanta, and his team will have similar responsibilities but
focus on the U.S. He joins from Visa, where he served as director of commercial
strategic business and partner commercialization.
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