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.