With only two weeks left in his role as CEO at American Express, Kenneth Chenault is already on to a new challenge as he becomes the first black executive to become a member of the Facebook board of directors.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday announced the appointment of Chenault, who officially ends 17 years as CEO at Amex on Feb. 1.

Amex CEO Kenneth Chenault
American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault Bloomberg News

Zuckerberg said the addition to the company's board was "the culmination of years of recruitment efforts" to lure a successful executive in Chenault, according to a USA Today report.

American Express named Stephen J. Squeri as its new CEO in October, after Chenault announced his retirement. Squeri will jump right into the major tasks of continuing to right Amex's ship in the wake of the loss of the Costco business. He must also deal with an upcoming Supreme Court hearing over card-steering allegations from various merchants.

Chenault will take his seat on the Facebook board on Feb. 5, a move that Facebook sees as a significant boost to its understanding of black and Hispanic communities, as well as receiving input from a proven corporate CEO regarding customer service, and building more trust in the Facebook brand.

The move also gives Facebook some unique insights into the financial services and payments worlds, areas which have been reflected in executive hires in the past.

Former PayPal President David Marcus left his post to join Facebook in 2014. He has since been part of the expansion of Facebook Messenger to support person-to-person payments and other functions.

Chenault has been with American Express in various executive positions since 1981. He also serves on the boards of IBM, Procter & Gamble, and various nonprofit groups. He also contributes to health and cultural organizations.

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