Courtesy photo: John Flannery, GE’s new president and CEO
BOSTON – Jeff Immelt is stepping down as chief executive of GE, the Boston-based company
said on Monday.
John Flannery, president and CEO of GE Healthcare, has been named CEO of the company by the GE Board of Directors effective August 1 and chairman and CEO effective January 1, 2018.
Immelt, the 61-year-old chairman and CEO, will remain chairman of the Board through his retirement from the company in December. In addition, Jeff Bornstein, chief financial officer, has been promoted to vice chair of GE. Today’s leadership announcements are the result of a succession plan that has been run by the GE Board of Directors since 2011.
“During this time of dynamic global markets and relentless focus on technology and operational excellence, there is no better person to lead GE than John Flannery,” said Jack Brennan, independent director for GE’s Board of Directors, in a statement. “He brings unique experience and a strong skills to the job. John has spent almost half of his career living outside of the U.S and has led complex financial and industrial businesses all over the world, including running GE Healthcare, GE in India and the business development team for GE through the successful acquisition of Alstom. John has had a direct influence on the company’s direction, its financial health and its position as the world’s premier digital industrial company.”
Flannery, 55, began his career at GE Capital in 1987 where he focused on evaluating risk for leveraged buy-outs. 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. In 1997, he moved to Argentina where he successfully led GE’s Equity business in Latin America and the overall GE Capital business for Argentina and Chile.
In 2002, Flannery became the president and CEO of GE Equity and was asked to lead the business through a difficult cycle. In 2005, he moved to Asia where he was responsible for the Asia Pacific region for GE Capital, and while there, he doubled earnings in Japan by 100 percent, in Korea by 30 percent and in Australia by 25 percent.
In 2009, he moved to India to lead the country for GE. During his time in India, Mr. Flannery upgraded the leadership team, built the culture and focused on the industrial side of the business, where he increased industrial sales by 50 percent in 2011. In 2013, he was tapped to lead business development at GE Corporate where he focused on capital allocation for the company and led the acquisition of Alstom, the largest industrial acquisition in the company’s history. He also worked on shrinking GE Capital, the Synchrony Financial IPO, and the disposition of GE Appliances.
Since joining GE Healthcare in 2014, Mr. Flannery has led the turnaround of the business, increasing organic revenue by 5 percent. He positioned GE Healthcare for continued success with technology leadership in core imaging, created digital platforms and solutions, expanded Life Sciences through bioprocess solutions, and added key technology to its cell therapy systems business, the company said. He also launched Sustainable Healthcare Solutions, which is focused on bringing disruptive technologies to healthcare providers across emerging markets.
“John is the right person to lead GE today,” said Immelt in a statement. “He has broad experience across multiple businesses, cycles and geographies. He has a track record of success and led one of our most essential businesses. Most important are his strong leadership traits – good judgment, resilience, a learner, team builder and a tough-minded individual and competitor. He will be trusted by investors, our customers and the GE team.”
Flannery said his selection is the greatest honor of his career.
“I am privileged to have spent the last 16 years at the company working for Jeff, one of the greatest business leaders of our time,” Flannery said in a statement. “He has transformed the GE portfolio, globalized the company and created a vision for the GE of the future by positioning the company to lead in digital and additive manufacturing. In the next few months, my focus will be on listening to investors, customers and employees to determine the next steps for GE.”
Immelt led the successful transformation of GE into a simpler, stronger and more focused digital industrial portfolio aligned to key markets: power, aviation, transportation, healthcare and oil and gas, the company said.
GE has completed $260 billion of asset sales for GE Capital since 2015, acquired global energy leader Alstom, announced the combination of GE Oil & Gas with Baker Hughes, and divested legacy businesses like GE Appliances, NBC Universal and Plastics.