American Express picks new chairman

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The Independent Online
A WEEK after accepting James Robinson's decision to stay on as chairman, American Express yesterday replaced him with Richard Furlaud, a director and the former chief executive of the Squibb pharmaceuticals group.

Mr Furlaud - who headed the committee that endorsed both Mr Robinson and his choice for his successor as chief executive, Harvey Golub - will serve as non-executive chairman of the troubled travel services company, the board announced. Mr Golub will have sole responsibility for running the business, Mr Furlaud, 69, said.

Mr Robinson, who appeared to have emerged the winner of a boardroom battle that has been raging since last September, decided to resign after all last Friday, after disgruntled institutional shareholders threatened to dispose of their Amex holdings.

Amex shares lost almost 10 per cent of their value last week, as money managers met Mr Golub to express their disappointment at Mr Robinson's continued presence.

Mr Robinson, whose resignation takes effect on 22 February, will also give up his new title as chief executive of Amex's investment banking subsidiary, Shearson Lehman Brothers. No successor has been named, but the company said Mr Golub was conferring with Shearson directors on its future management structure.

Mr Robinson's departure places the problems at Shearson, along with those at its core travel- service business, squarely in the hands of Mr Golub, 53, a former McKinsey & Company consultant.