American Express President Ed Gilligan passed away after becoming seriously ill on a flight home to New York the morning of May 29.
Kenneth Chenault, American Express chairman and CEO, shared the news in a letter to American Express employees.
"This is deeply painful and frankly unimaginable for all of us who had the great fortune to work with Ed, and benefit from his insights, leadership and enthusiasm," said Chenault. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Lisa, and their four children – Katie, Meaghan, Kevin and Shane. He was a proud husband and father, and his love for his family was evident in all that he did."
Gilligan spent his entire career with American Express, starting with the company as an intern 35 years ago and moving up to vice chairman in 2007 and president in 2013. During his time at the company Gilligan worked with the commercial card, travel, international, consumer, small business, merchant services and network services division, as well as, most recently, a group focused on forging digital partnerships and driving payment innovations.
"The mark of a true leader is followership, and Ed won the hearts and minds of many thousands," said Chenault. "He was a champion of diversity and employee development, and his mentorship has helped create a legacy of strong leaders wherever he went. We mourn his loss, and we will have opportunities to share our memories of him more fully in the coming days. More details will be communicated next week."