American Express Makes History: First Black Woman Appointed to Executive Committee


On June 20th, American Express made history by appointing Glenda McNeal, the company’s President of Strategic Partnerships, to their Executive Committee. With this appointment, McNeal became the first black woman to serve on the American Express executive committee.

McNeal spent over 30 years climbing through the ranks at American Express working in the fields of sales and client management, business development, marketing, and strategy. Over the years McNeal has held various leadership roles at American Express including but not limited to: Assistant Manager to Vice President, Vice President, General Manager of New Industry Development, Senior Vice President of Global Partnerships, and General Manager of Retail & Emerging Industries. In her current role within Strategic Partnerships, she oversees the growth of the companies most critical partnerships which include: Amazon, Delta, Hilton, Marriott, and Paypal. Glenda McNeal also spearheaded ‘Stand for Small’, the American Express sponsored initiative that combined the efforts of approximately 70 companies to help small businesses repair and prepare for the lasting effects of COVID-19.

McNeal will join Andrés Espinosa, Executive Vice President of Enterprise Credit and Fraud Risk Management and Chief Credit Officer for American Express, and Pierric Beckert, President of Global Network Services, as new members in the Executive Committee.

Outside of her work at American Express, McNeal is a member of the B.E. Registry of Corporate Directors. She also serves on the board of Nordstrom Inc., RLJ Lodging Trust, the World Travel and Tourism Council, and the United Negro College Fund. She is a graduate of Dillard University where she received her bachelor’s in Accounting. She later received her M.B.A. from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, she is also a member of the Executive Leadership Council.

“Having Glenda’s expertise and experience on the Executive Committee will be a huge asset for us,” said Stephen J. Squeri, American Express Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

Glenda McNeal’s appointment to the executive committee is an important step in diversifying markets, especially in our current times where workforce inequalities are being exposed. Currently, it is estimated that 41% of Black-owned businesses are permanently shutting down due to COVID-19 because of a lack of access to loans. McNeal’s new role at American Express is a huge step in the right direction of increasing minority visibility in leadership. Hopefully, other corporations will take note and be inspired to make changes within their own organizations.

Isha Kamara

Isha is a Communications Intern at Walkers Legacy. She also owns her own brand Iced Out Cosmetics that launched in 2018, which she uses to uplift WOC and LGBT members by using makeup as a tool for diversity. Through Iced Out Cosmetics, Isha has been a member of UMD's Startup Shell Xi Batch, Terp Startup 2019 Cohort, and Do Good Spring Fellowship for Spring 2020.

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Walker's Legacy is a growing global women in business collective founded to establish networks of empowerment and access for women of color in business.