AmEx CEO goes public with in-house views

Updated: October 9, 2002, 12:28 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Kenneth I. Chenault, chairman and chief executive of American Express, is the latest Augusta National Golf Club member to support the inclusion of female members.

Chenault released a statement supporting the campaign by the National Council of Women's Organizations.

"I believe women should be admitted as members of the Augusta National Golf Club,'' Chenault said in the statement, first reported in Wednesday's New York Times and later confirmed by American Express. "I have made my views known within the club because I believe that is the most effective and appropriate way to bring about a change in membership policy.''

On Monday, Lloyd Ward, the head of the U.S. Olympic Committee, said he will work aggressively with other club members to admit women.

Ward, one of a handful of black members at Augusta National, said he was "committed to breaking down barriers which exclude women from membership at Augusta in the weeks and months ahead.''

Amid signs that some Augusta National members were backing away from the club's hard-line stand on the issue, the former president of Ford Motor Co. also said he thought there would be female members at the exclusive club that hosts the Masters golf tournament.

"I think there will be at some time in the future,'' Harold "Red'' Poling said.

Ward made his comments in a letter to Martha Burk, chairwoman of the National Council of Women's Organizations, which is spearheading the drive to include women among Augusta National's 300 members.

Burk told the newspaper that this latest support "would indicate that the problems at Augusta will be solved sooner than later.''

Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press