The credit card company’s first year under new CEO Stephen Squeri went pretty well—the enduring health of the economy meant 9% more spending on AmEx cards in 2018, plus an additional 12 million new cardholders. That helped lift American Express’s revenues to record levels, while its profits more than doubled as the 2017 tax reform law kicked in and slashed the company’s tax rate. Much of those savings went back to shareholders, with AmEx paying out $2.9 billion in dividends and stock buybacks, a perk that has kept Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway on board as the company’s biggest investor.
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