GE CEO Jeff Immelt stepping down, successor named

General Electric announced Monday morning that CEO and Chairman Jeff Immelt is stepping down from his role at the company.

The 30-year General Electric (GE) veteran poised to take over as the industrial conglomerate's chief executive promised Monday to review every part of a vastly simplified but sprawling portfolio - and the division he now heads could be next on the GE chopping block, in one analyst's view. He brings unique experience and a strong skill set to the job. Two years after that he was tapped to lead business development at GE Corporate, where he focused on capital allocation for the company and led the acquisition of Alstom, the largest industrial acquisition in the company's history.

Flannery has worked hard to move GE into newer areas of healthcare like life sciences, where GE has emerged as a significant player in helping with the production of biological drugs and cell therapies.

Power remains just one of GE's specialties, with other divisions including transportation, aviation and healthcare. The conglomerate has refocused on its industrial businesses, shedding low-margin units like home appliances and striking a big oil-and-gas deal with Baker Hughes Inc. last fall. "We expect Mr. Flannery to be more aggressive in this regard and we would not expect any sacred cow".

Since Immelt became CEO in 2001, GE's shares have declined 30 per cent, while the S&P 500 index more than doubled.

Immelt (pictured above, left) transformed GE into a "simpler" and "deeper" company, Flannery (pictured above, right) said during a town hall discussion broadcast live Monday on Facebook.

But, despite the potential for changes, the early prediction among some local business leaders is that the 55-year-old Flannery will continue down the path Immelt has put GE on, broadly speaking. While GE ranks among the world's great industrial powerhouses, its stock price has languished and the company has been under particular pressure since Trian Fund Management, run by the billionaire investor Nelson Peltz, took a big stake in it almost two years ago.

The problem is that GE is an ever changing portfolio of businesses unconnected by any organizing principle.

"The market didn't want to give Immelt any credit for those investments because so numerous things in the past haven't worked out".

Mr. Brennan added, "Jeff has positioned the company incredibly well for the future.

During his time in India, Mr. Flannery upgraded the leadership team, built the culture and focused on the industrial side of the business, where he increased industrial sales by 50 percent in 2011", the bio says. "I think the timing is flawless for the new CEO coming in to continue these investments and increase the value of GE's business".

The falling share price had nothing to do with Immelt's retirement because the plan was already in place, according to the person close to Immelt. But that's what every GE CEO does.

  • Zachary Reyes