Airbnb Will Add American Express CEO Ken Chenault to Board

Ken Chenault

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

American Express Co. Chief Executive Officer Ken Chenault will join Airbnb Inc.’s board of directors next month while the home-sharing company continued a run of profitability.

Chenault, a prominent black business leader, will help Airbnb build its brand as a trusted community of people who rent their homes, CEO Brian Chesky said in an open letter to Airbnb users. San Francisco-based Airbnb has struggled with accusations that it is unwelcoming to black travelers.

Airbnb has maintained a steady profit before interest, taxes and amortization since the second half of 2016. In 2017, the company generated almost $100 million in profit, said a person familiar with the issue who asked not to be identified discussing financial information.

Chenault will join the board, currently five men, on Feb. 8, the company said Thursday. Airbnb spokesman Nick Papas said the company is in discussions to appoint a female director within the year.

Earlier this month, Facebook Inc. announced that Chenault would be joining its board in February. Chenault said in October that he will retire from American Express in February after almost 17 years leading the company.

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