“The one thing I will fight to my death, this will not be laid on Jack Welch.” Former GE board member Ken Langone, to CNBC
Retirement has not been kind to former General Electric Chief Executive Jeff Immelt. Ever since his successor, John Flannery, took over this storied but troubled conglomerate last August, vowing to fix what ails it, observers have rushed to lay the blame for GE’s problems at Immelt’s feet.
Immelt bought back too much stock at too high a price. Immelt mismanaged the company’s electrical power business. Immelt was a poor deployer of capital. He didn’t shed GE Capital quickly enough. He stubbornly clung to earnings targets that were unrealistic.
“Mr. Immelt,” said the Wall Street Journal in late February, “projected an optimism about GE’s business and its future that didn’t always match the