AmEx Reorganizes Consumer, Merchant Units as Silverman Exits

  • Buckminster, Williams named to run unified business units
  • AmEx makes second round of changes since Ed Gilligan's death

American Express Co., bracing for a decline in profit after the loss of a key retail partner, made a series of organizational changes including combining U.S. and international units and said that consumer product head Josh Silverman is leaving the firm.

Doug Buckminster, who had led international card operations, was named president of a newly unified global consumer unit, while Anre Williams will oversee a combined merchant services and loyalty business, New York-based AmEx said Wednesday in a statement. Steve Squeri, who was named vice chairman earlier this year, will be in charge of corporate and small business initiatives globally as well as merchant financing and the foreign-exchange payments business, the firm said. Silverman is leaving to join Greylock Partners as an executive-in-residence.

“Making changes now will help ensure that we’re positioned to take full advantage of our opportunities going into next year,” Chief Executive Officer Ken Chenault said in the statement.

Profit Decline

American Express shares have slumped 20 percent this year, the third-worst performance in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, as Chenault struggles to overcome the departure of its biggest co-brand partner, Costco Wholesale Corp. Last week, the lender reported a third-quarter profit that missed analysts’ estimates and forecast that earnings per share may decline as much as 6.5 percent this year.

This is AmEx’s second round of organizational changes since the death in May of President Ed Gilligan, a 35-year AmEx veteran who was seen as a candidate to eventually run the company. Gilligan died on a return trip from Tokyo after suffering an embolism and subsequent heart attack, a person briefed on the matter had said.

Jim Bush was named president of international consumer services and Denise Pickett president of U.S. consumer services. Both will report to Buckminster, as will the head of a new global consumer lending group the company is creating, according to the statement. The firm is conducting a search for someone to run that business.

Buckminster’s group will be responsible for all consumer charge and lending products, as well as consumer travel and other related services globally, the firm said. All merchant-related businesses will be consolidated under Williams’s new group. Both men will report to Chenault.

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