CHAIRMAN EMERITUS, THE KESSLER GROUP
Howard Kessler is Founder and Chairman Emeritus of The Kessler Group. Howard is a leading innovator in the financial services industry and a consummate dealmaker who pioneered the concept of the affinity credit card with MBNA in 1982. He has spent the ensuing decades building businesses focused on delivering win-win solutions to the most critical problems faced by senior executives in retail financial services.
Deals and partnership programs created by Howard have literally reshaped the landscape of the payments industry— resulting in the creation of billions of dollars in value for shareholders. Howard has been at the forefront of innovation in credit cards and has developed concepts and techniques that have been exported to financial services firms around the world.
As a lifelong entrepreneur, Howard excels in the relentless pursuit of out-of-the-box answers to intractable problems, especially in deal making and in the crafting of alternative solutions in “workout” situations. This unique combination of tenacity and creativity has made him a trusted advisor to the most senior leaders in the fields of politics and financial services, and these relationships give him unparalleled insight into the strategic objectives and needs of major financial institutions.
Howard and his wife, Michele, are active philanthropists supporting a wide range of national and global causes, such as the William J. Clinton Foundation, the American Red Cross, the American Ireland Fund, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the Prince of Wales Trust and Partners HealthCare. Howard has been the recipient of numerous public service awards, including the United Way Emerging Corporate Philanthropist Award, the Red Cross Lifetime Achievement Award, the Palm Beach Police Foundation Award for Community Service and the Carolyn and Peter Lynch Award for entrepreneurs who have made a significant difference in the lives of children. He is also a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.