American Express President Ed Gilligan — widely seen as CEO-in-waiting — died suddenly Friday after getting sick on a corporate jet bound for New York City.
Gilligan, 55, was returning from Tokyo with other AmEx executives when he fell ill, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing before it reached New York, according to spokeswoman Marina Norville.
“Ed was a living embodiment of our values, embracing both our heritage of service, trust and integrity, as well as our entrepreneurial spirit that has helped continually transform this company through the years,” AmEx Chief Executive Kenneth Chenault said in a statement.
Gilligan, a 35-year veteran of the company, was seen as Chenault’s eventual successor and was being groomed for the top job. Chenault, 64, has been CEO since 2001.
“We are very thorough with succession planning for our executives,” Norville told The Post.
People who worked for Gilligan will report, at least temporarily, to Chenault while the company works out a plan.
“Given the circumstances, I’m sure there will be a sequence of events that will happen,” Norville said.
The cause of his death hasn’t been released yet. Earlier this year he had minor surgery on his foot, but that appeared unrelated, Norville said.
Gilligan’s death follows several setbacks for the credit-card giant. AmEx recently lost two lucrative partnerships with Costco and JetBlue.
The company also lost a major antitrust case brought by the Department of Justice. A judge ruled that the company couldn’t restrict vendors from steering customers to less expensive credit cards.
Amex shares closed down 0.46 percent to $79.72.
American Express President dies in flight after becoming sick--GA
Reviewed by sambasivan srinivasan