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General Electric CEO steps down

18 Juin 2017

General Electric said Monday that Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt, 61, will be stepping down after 16 years at the helm. He has made dramatic changes to GE's business, not only through completing $260 billion in asset sales for GE Capital over the past two years, but in taking on big acquisitions and divesting out of businesses like GE Appliances, NBC Universal and GE Plastics. The new boss was seen as a big thinker who could guide GE into the digital age and do so with a lighter touch than his cutthroat predecessor. He also noted the potential to grow GE's already-large healthcare business, which Flannery led for the past three years in Chicago.

Yet investors were unimpressed.

Immelt said he's been planning for several years to step down around now, regardless of shareholder sentiment. Immelt and GE have been under pressure from an activist investment fund to cut costs and increase profits to boost the stock price.

"We are all ears on the new narrative", Tusa said, adding that Flannery will be constrained from making radical changes that could threaten the company's dividend. That underperformance had some pressing for more urgency from Mr Immelt.

"As GE pares down, it's the one business that looks like an outlier", Deane Dray of RBC Capital Markets told IBD.

"Our administration has valued working with Jeff and wishes him great success on future endeavors", Baker said. Immelt will step down from the chairman position on December 31, and Flannery will take it over then, as well.

Shares of General Electric Co. climbed more than 2 percent in premarket trading. They are down about 7.6 percent over the last 12 months.

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In 2002, Flannery became the president and CEO of GE Equity.

The company said in a statement that his decision is "the result of a succession plan that has been run by the GE Board of Directors since 2011". Flannery joined GE in 1987. "He will bring a great internal operational focus to the table going forward". He says Immelt will best be remembered for weathering tumultuous times.

GE's conventional generation division has also gone digital.

After earning a bachelor's degree in finance and a Wharton MBA, he spent 10 years at GE Capital's Stamford, Connecticut, office before being sent to Argentina in 1997 to help the Latin American operations. Trian took a $US2.5 billion stake that year while saying it supported the portfolio shift. On Monday afternoon, shares were up 4.1% to $29.08.

Trian's head of communications Anne Tarbell did not immediately return a call seeking comment. Trian may have been a factor, Dray said. It could even find a new ear in Mr. Flannery's.

Mr. Bornstein will remain chief financial officer and become vice chairman, GE said.

General Electric today announced that John Flannery, president and CEO of GE Healthcare, will become its new CEO effective August 1 and that he will add the chairman title effective January 1, 2018.