Flannery New GE CEO
CBJ — John Flannery (pictured) will become the new chief executive at General Electric on August 1.
The 55-year-old Flannery is now the head of its healthcare unit and will replace current CEO and chairman Jeff Immelt. Flannery will also take over as chair when Immelt retires on December 31.
The stock market reacted positively to the news with the company’s shares jumping 4% to just over $29.
The appointment of Flannery ends a succession planning program that lasted almost six years.
The 61-year-old Immelt took over from Jack Welch in 2001, and has been credited with guiding the company through the recession, which nearly toppled the maker of jet engines, wind turbines and locomotives. Immelt also oversaw the divestment of GE Capital – its massive lending unit – shifting the conglomerate’s focus from finance to manufacturing, and bet on developing digital technologies to transform the company’s factories.
However, since Immelt became CEO in 2001, GE’s shares fell 30%, while the S&P 500 index more than doubled. That under performance had some pressing for more urgency from Immelt.
Still, the company, the oldest surviving member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, has struggled to boost sales significantly in the past few quarters. In particular, the company’s cash flow has been a cause for concern.