Immelt out, Flannery in as president and CEO of General Electric

Jeff Immelt, GE
General Electric president and CEO Jeff Immelt is retiring after nearly 20 years at his post.

International conglomerate General Electric has announced that John Flannery, current president and CEO of GE Healthcare, will replace current GE head Jeff Immelt, pending Immelt’s retirement at the end of this year.

Immelt, 61, has served as president and CEO after taking over for Jack Welch in 2001, and is credited for reestablishing GE’s industrial roots by focusing on the power, aviation, transportation, healthcare, and oil and gas sectors.

It was under Immelt that GE completed a $13.5 billion acquisition of Alstom Power, which was, at the time of its closing in November 2015, the largest industrial acquisition in the company’s history.

“Jeff has positioned the company incredibly well for the future,” said Jack Brennan, lead independent director for GE’s Board of Directors. “He executed a massive portfolio transformation and navigated the company through economic cycles and business disruptions.”

Flannery, 55, becomes chief executive of GE on August 1. He will then add the chairman title Jan. 1, 2018, following Immelt’s retirement as chair December 31.

Flannery began his career with GE Capital in 1987 before moving to South America in 1997, where he led GE’s equity business in Argentina and Chile. He was named president and CEO of GE Equity in 2002, and moved to Asia in 2005, where he oversaw significant increases in the group’s Asian interests. It is during this period that Flannery led GE’s acquisition of Alstom.

Since 2014, Flannery has served as president and CEO of GE Healthcare.

“John is the right person to lead GE today,” Immelt said. “He has broad experience across multiple businesses, cycles and geographies. He has a track record of success and led one of our most essential businesses. Most important are his strong leadership traits — good judgement, resilience, a learner, team builder and a tough-minded individual and competitor.”

Flannery’s tenure as president and CEO begins as the company continues searching for ways to invigorate General Electric’s slumping stock.

“Today’s announcement is the greatest honor of my career,” Flannery said. “In the next few months, my focus will be on listening to investors, customers and employees to determine the next steps for GE.”

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for HydroWorld.com.

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