AmEx pres­i­dent dies af­ter fall­ing ill on flight


Amer­i­can Ex­press said com­pany Pres­i­dent Ed Gil­li­gan died sud­denly Fri­day af­ter fall­ing ill while fly­ing on a cor­po­rate plane to New York.

Gil­li­gan, 55, was com­ing back from a busi­ness trip. The plane made an emer­gency land­ing in the U.S., an Amer­i­can Ex­press spokes­woman said. She de­clined to say where Gil­li­gan had been.

“This is deeply painful and frankly unimag­in­able for all of us who had the great for­tune to work with Ed,” said Amer­i­can Ex­press CEO Ken Chenault, in a let­ter to em­ploy­ees Fri­day. Gil­li­gan be­gan work­ing at the New York credit card is­suer and global pay­ments com­pany 35 years ago as an in­tern. He was named pres­i­dent of the com­pany in 2013 and re­ported to Chenault.

Amer­i­can Ex­press said he is sur­vived by his wife and four chil­dren.

In his time at the com­pany, Gil­li­gan worked on just about ev­ery area of Amer­i­can Ex­press’ busi­ness, in­clud­ing com­mer­cial card, small busi­ness, mer­chant ser­vices, travel and, most re­cently, dig­i­tal part­ner­ships and pay­ments.

As a re­sult, Gil­li­gan was viewed as a po­ten­tial can­di­date to even­tu­ally suc­ceed Chenault, said Jim Shana­han, fi­nan­cial ser­vices an­a­lyst at Ed­ward Jones.

“In my mind, he would have prob­a­bly been one of a few peo­ple on a very short list, at least of in­ter­nal can­di­dates, to re­place him at some point,” Shana­han said. He noted, how­ever, that he doesn’t be­lieve Chenault, 63, is likely to re­tire any time soon.

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