Jack Welch, Legendary Former CEO Of General Electric, Has Died At Age 84
Jack Welch, who became a celebrity CEO and management guru after reviving General Electric in the 1980s and 1990s, is dead at age 84.
His death was confirmed Monday by GE, according to the Associated Press. The cause of death was renal failure, his wife Suzy told the New York Times.
Welch took over the industrial giant in 1981 at a time when the U.S. economy was still floundering and conglomerates were out of style among investors. The executive took GE's many industrial divisions global and instituted a management method for better testing the profitability of its divisions, selling off those that were underperforming. He also led GE's charge into financial services and its purchase of RCA, whose assets included the NBC television network.
The makeover was a huge success during his tenure. Revenue soared at GE under Welch, up 600% to $130 billion. He also made GE's investors a lot of money: General Electric's stock market value under Welch rose to more than $400 billion, from $14 billion when he took the job of chief executive. GE became the world's most valuable company at one point and its stock one of the most widely held among both institutional and mom-and-pop investors.
Welch championed the belief that the main job of a CEO was to boost shareholder wealth. But since he stepped down from GE's top job in 2001, his tenure has come into question, especially since the financial crisis.
G.E.'s stock has floundered in recent decades. And the company faced steep losses in its financial businesses after the collapse of Lehman Brothers.
—This is a developing story.
First published on March 2, 2020 / 10:00 AM
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