Immelt set to retire as General Electric chief

Immelt set to retire as General Electric chief

General Electric announced on Monday that Jeff Immelt is stepping down as chief executive.

Flannery will take over General Electric Co GE.N from Jeff Immelt, who is stepping aside after 16 years as head of the conglomerate he helped steer through the financial crisis but which is now worth a third less than when he took over. While CEO, GE returned $143 billion to investors in dividends, more than in the entire prior history of the company.

The new GE chief has turned around many businesses of GE around the globe, including Argentina, Chile, Japan, Korea and Australia apart from India. Last year GE merged its oil and gas divisions with service provider Baker Hughes, according to the New York Times.

He also will receive at least $20.7 million from early vesting of restricted stock and pro-rated portions of his target performance shares, based on GE's closing price Friday, as well as $9.86 million from deferred compensation plans.

The company said Kieran Murphy, president and CEO of GE Healthcare Life Sciences, will replace Mr Flannery.

GE said Immelt's departure was not triggered by outside influences, and that its board set the summer of 2017 for Immelt's departure as far back as 2013. "He executed a massive portfolio transformation and navigated the company through economic cycles and business disruptions". Trian and GE also tied senior management compensation to delivering on the more ambitious goals.

"John is the right person to lead GE today".

Immelt succeeded iconic executive Jack Welch, who put his stamp on the company by increasing the breadth of its businesses. In his tenure, GE empowered Flannery and restructured the Indian management by making all local business heads report into him instead of the global business heads.

Immelt's inability to move that stock price, indeed it fell by almost half during his tenure, was thought by many to be his undoing. In the 1990s, he was a leader in the corporate restructuring and workout group, where he was known for his negotiating skills and ability to improve companies' operations.

CFRA analyst Jim Corridore said while Immelt "should get credit for transforming GE away from consumer finance", the pace of change "has been slow and the company has had execution challenges".

"It is unimaginable, at least to me, that they would walk away from health care when it was nearly certainly the No. 1 factor in their decision to come to Boston", Coburn said, adding he has met with Flannery many times and called him "exceptionally smart".

The succession plan had been in place for years, and for some on the street it was a welcome change.

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