12 Jun 2017
Jeff Immelt to Retire as GE CEO
Executive leaves after 16 years in the roleTopics:
Photo by Keith Bedford/Boston Globe Staff
Longtime GE CEO Jeff Immelt (MBA 1982) announced his retirement Monday, set to take effect on August 1. John Flannery, president and chief executive of GE Healthcare, was named Immelt’s successor.
The announcement, the company noted, came after a six-year-long succession planning process. “We started talking about this five years ago and narrowed down on the summer of 2017 as being the best time [for a transition], best for GE and best for Jeff,” GE’s lead independent director Jack Brennan told the Boston Globe.
The Globe article summarizes the impact of Immelt’s sixteen years at the helm:
Immelt has been busy disassembling significant elements of the conglomerate that he began leading four days before the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Immelt’s goal was to make GE more streamlined, stripping away finance and consumer businesses to focus on what’s known as the “industrial Internet” — a term GE uses to describe how to use software and data to make machines smarter and more interactive.
“He was miles ahead of the world in terms of redefining us as a digital company,” Flannery told employees on Monday.
Immelt leaves after beginning the process of establishing GE’s new Boston headquarters—a move spurred in part by the CEO’s professed desire to shake up the corporate mindset:
Immelt, 61, also wanted a big culture shift. He asked employees to think more like they work for a startup and less like they work for a giant company, one with more than a century of corporate history.
Class of MBA 1982, Section A