John Flannery could not repair GE’s past mistakes quickly enough

THE weight of the past can be heavy indeed. That is a lesson that John Flannery, who only 14 months ago took over as chairman and chief executive of General Electric (GE), an 125-year-old industrial conglomerate founded by Thomas Edison, has learned the hard way. The company veteran (pictured above) came up with fairly radical plans for downsizing and decentralising the troubled conglomerate. He announced a cut in its dividend. He also declared that he would, in time, spin off its health-care division and sell its majority stake in Baker Hughes, an oilfield-services firm. That made for a welcome change from Jeffrey Immelt, his predecessor, whose 16-year tenure saw a dramatic decline in GE’s performance and profitability.

So it came as a shock when, on October 1st, GE’s board ousted Mr Flannery. He must have thought it would give him a few years to implement his turnaround strategy, which was unveiled only last November. He had not made any big missteps. He was replaced by Larry Culp, a former...

via Business Feeds

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