Why Jeff Immelt’s GE Succession Will Go Much Better Than Jack Welch’s (Article)

Harry shares his thoughts on the succession plan to replace outgoing General Electric CEO, Jeff Immelt:

General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt is stepping down in August, ending his 16-year tenure as the leader of the $120 billion company. It’s a textbook case of succession that could greatly improve the chances of success for John Flannery, the 30-year GE veteran tapped to replace him.

This sets up a quick and seamless transition as Immelt has promised, contrasting sharply with the drawn-out way GE’s iconic CEO Jack Welch chose his successor, which took more than six years — much of it in the public eye. Eventually, it came down to a three-way “horse-race” among internal finalists. At the time, it was called the “most closely watched, highly anticipated, and frequently second-guessed corporate succession drama ever.” The process was so public, the other two finalists ended up leaving GE for leadership positions in other companies after Immelt was chosen in 2001, creating a void for him without these strong executives. This time around, after Flannery was announced, Steve Bolze, head of GE’s Power business, has announced his retirement after not nabbing the top job (here’s a letter Bolze wrote his colleagues on his decision to retire).

Read Harry’s full article here on Fortune.com.

One comment

  • Thanks for the insight on GE’s succession planning. Jack Welch will be remembered for his statement,
    “End the meeting after the meeting”. (In other words, say what you must say in the meeting. This works in a culture that supports this type of candid conversation. I believe the good ones do.)
    Did Jack Welch come up with GE’s process improvement approaches?


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