The 100 Most Influential People of 2021
Frazier: Eric Piermont—AFP/Getty Images; Chenault: Shannon Finney—Getty Images
By Ursula Burns
September 15, 2021 7:16 AM EDT

I am always struck by the similarities between Ken Frazier and Ken Chenault. These similarities make the combination of these two men exponentially more powerful. Both are titans of business, who for many years flawlessly ran two of the world’s most impactful premier companies: Merck and American Express respectively. Both are phenomenal family men. Both are private and soft-spoken, while simultaneously being fearless fighters for what is right. Last year, in collaboration with other leaders, they worked to launch OneTen, a coalition aimed at closing the Black American opportunity gap with workforce training and hiring initiatives. This spring, they partnered to mobilize business executives to support voting rights for all Americans, publishing an open letter signed by dozens of their industry peers. Frazier and Chenault show that there is more than one way to do the right thing. When the Kens call, you pick up, because maybe this is your chance to stand on the shoulders of giants and help create a better world for future generations.

Burns is an Integrum Holdings founding partner and former chairman and CEO of Xerox Corp. and VEON

Correction Sept. 16

The original version of this story misstated Kenneth C. Frazier and Ken Chenault’s professional affiliations. Frazier was the CEO of Merck, while Chenault was the CEO of American Express.

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