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How a power-hungry CEO drained
the light out of General Electric

Original Article

Posted By: Pluperfect, 7/12/2020 4:26:26 AM

Jeff Bornstein could not control his emotions. “I love this company,” began the tough-talking, hard-driving chief financial officer of one of the world’s most storied corporations. Then he broke down in tears. It was August 2017, less than a month after John Flannery, the brand-new CEO of General Electric, had taken the reins. Flannery and Bornstein had both devoted their entire careers to GE, like most of those present for this moment at the annual summer meeting for top executives in Crotonville, NY, a leafy campus where the company’s professionals spend months being indoctrinated in the corporation’s proud culture.

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Reply 1 - Posted by: BarryNo 7/12/2020 5:25:10 AM (No. 475344)
"For years, GE’s profits had been a mirage built on whirlwind mergers and accounting sleight of hand." Sounds like normal Liberal accounting practices, to me. Ask Paul Krugman. He'll protest bitterly while trying to hide past praise of fraudsters like Immelt from interested parties. Provided the value listed in their bank accounts hasn't gone south, these guys are 'successful'.
15 people like this.

Reply 2 - Posted by: allofus 7/12/2020 5:49:22 AM (No. 475348)
GE’s destruction actually began with Jack Welch. As a Profession Engineer, I worked with GE made equipment for years an witnessed first hand the amazing deterioration in quality. Welch was admired by Wall Street, while in the real world the company was rotting internally. Because GE was many times selected as the “Low Bidder” on equipment, their equipment was installed only to have significant failures due to Poor Quality and Design. Later, as I became influential in Equipment Selection, we, along with massive others, moved away from GE completely. So, Mr. Wall Street, Jack Welch, if it were possible, see the destruction of what was once the top company in your field. You started all the decline.
26 people like this.

Reply 3 - Posted by: Petronius 7/12/2020 5:58:12 AM (No. 475350)
Immelt belongs in prison.
32 people like this.

Reply 4 - Posted by: janjan 7/12/2020 6:41:59 AM (No. 475361)
There is a whole lot of this going on all over the corporate world. I’ve seen it firsthand.
19 people like this.

Reply 5 - Posted by: ARKfamily 7/12/2020 6:42:57 AM (No. 475362)
This is not surprising at all. Barack Obama was a favorite with Immelt. Enough said.
31 people like this.

Reply 6 - Posted by: franq 7/12/2020 7:35:50 AM (No. 475386)
I avoid GE products like the plague.
18 people like this.

Reply 7 - Posted by: F15 Gork 7/12/2020 8:01:29 AM (No. 475408)
Not all crooks reside in government.
16 people like this.

Reply 8 - Posted by: Redbone 7/12/2020 8:12:23 AM (No. 475416)
I do not trust anything printed as news. For starters, the private jet pictured, N605BA, was never registered to GE, it is registered to the Bank of Utah. But GE is going down the same path that Westinghouse took in the 1990s. Westinghouse stopped building electronics and bought CBS and some financial institutions. Ford stopped making cars, except for the Mustang and BP isn't going to produce oil and gas. These companies are all going down the same path. So be it, times change, maybe I should get a coal powered Tesla?
10 people like this.

Reply 9 - Posted by: paral04 7/12/2020 8:51:22 AM (No. 475463)
GE allowed Jack Welsh to drain all the profitable business sectors and not invest in new initiatives. They got rid of the Information Systems Division that sold Cloud services to banks, manufacturers and multi-national companies. Welsh stated at a meeting that "This technology isn't going anywhere". He had no vision and the company has suffered since. After this pillage he walked away with $600 million of shareholder's money.
14 people like this.

Reply 10 - Posted by: stablemoney 7/12/2020 9:26:19 AM (No. 475524)
Welch was no wizard, but Immelt was worse, a disaster. Everything Immelt did became a disaster, including Alstom, the French company purchase, the oil and gas investments, and the insurance company. The accounting at GE is nothing but lies. I personally called GE and reported that their sales tax accounting for the oil and gas division was wrong--and they did not care, or at least, they made no effort to correct it. The only way to save GE is to fire most of the top management, and many middle managers, all of who are overpriced, and contribute nothing. SGA expenses need to be cut by 25-35%. Many of the companies in the portfolio need to be sold. GE does not know how to run them. Investors should disinvest in GE. GE should go private. There is no value in GE for the public to invest in.
7 people like this.

Reply 11 - Posted by: Rumblehog 7/12/2020 9:52:30 AM (No. 475576)
#8, the aircraft pictured is a Bombardier marketing demo aircraft. Writers of the article know better than to publish an actual GE aircraft tail number for security reasons. Companies never outright own their aircraft, choosing instead to lease them from any number of banks. Besides, I'd really be surprised if a Challenger 605 was GE's corporate aircraft, due to its range compared to a Global Express, or Gulfstream 550/650. ---- What's not said in this article is that GE did a nice "sleight of hand" in the marketplace to obtain their oil and gas business. Once Immelt took over at GE they advertised heavily about the future of wind energy, investing heavily in the technology. Once the oil and gas business was sufficiently depressed, GE swooped in and bought up Hydril (and then Baker Hughes). I remember, on one of my many drives down I-45 to Houston, seeing the name changed to "GE Oil & Gas" and thought, "Damn!, they manipulated the market to make this acquisition!" Alas, that was done under the corrupt reign of Barack Obama, Jeff Immelt's best buddy, Jack Welch picked the second worst of his 3 hand picked successors, the worst being the complete fool of both Home Depot and Chrysler, Robert Nardelli, who ruined everything he touched. The one who turned out to be the best was Jim McNerney, who ran Boeing for 11 years after being down selected by the idiot Welch. I admire Welch for being a PhD in Chemical Engineering, but the only great accomplishment he made was buying his own corporate marketing firm, which was NBC. That was also ruined by the evil "GE culture."
3 people like this.

Reply 12 - Posted by: Lawsy0 7/12/2020 10:28:34 AM (No. 475634)
Piracy. Piracy on the high wires. Piracy in expensive suits and shoes. Piracy in monthly electric bills to the public.
0 people like this.

Reply 13 - Posted by: jeffkinnh 7/12/2020 10:30:00 AM (No. 475637)
The worst of all this is that these people, Welch apparently included, destroyed a vibrant company and NO ONE did anything to prevent it. I can see the same scenario playing out at many other companies with the same results. The people at the top are placed there by others who don't want to be bothered actually running the company and are unwilling to get rid of a bad choice because it makes them look bad. Or they are too stupid to recognize the bad choices they make.
1 person likes this.

Reply 14 - Posted by: Nimby 7/12/2020 10:35:17 AM (No. 475646)
Where were the board of directors in all this?
2 people like this.

Reply 15 - Posted by: jhpeters2 7/12/2020 10:50:24 AM (No. 475664)
It never ceases to amaze me that these so called Masters of the Universe are nakedly stupid in epic ways. Look closely and one can see that Immelt and GE aligned perfectly with Saudis and OPEC in their dislike of fracking. Fracking has helped make the US energy independent (for how long, unknown) and it has brought oil producers worldwide to their knees. Naturally when Immelt put on his Master of the Universe cape and cowl he placed GE into the energy sector at top of market. No place to go but down, and he paid way too much to get there. Did 0bama have any smart associates and minions?
3 people like this.

Reply 16 - Posted by: Rumblehog 7/12/2020 10:55:33 AM (No. 475667)
The GE Board of Directors was picked by the Chairman of the Board, who just happens to be... the CEO! So, it's like the Fox guarding the Hen House of hens he personally selected. It's the corrupt corpocracy that exists across many Fortune 100 companies. Shareholders get the shaft while corrupt/incompetent Executives rake in tens of millions. Corporate governance became a hot topic after Enron, but sadly the SEC refuses to enforce the simplest of shareholder protections. These miscreants have way too much power and salary ratios are way out of whack compared to the rest of the developed world.
3 people like this.

Reply 17 - Posted by: mc squared 7/12/2020 12:01:24 PM (No. 475744)
Remember American companies? RCA comes to mind. Now their products are cast offs from Thomson who won't seel them in Europe. ( recently sold again.) All their RCA Victor music is owned by Sony.
0 people like this.

Reply 18 - Posted by: zephyrgirl 7/12/2020 12:42:36 PM (No. 475794)
All it takes is a bad CEO or two to ruin a once-proud company, and in most cases, the culprits walk away with millions. Most only ruin one company, but the poster boy for company ruination in my book is William Agee who not only cratered one company, but actually did ruin two (Bendix and Morrison-Knudson), and almost cratered a third (Boise-Cascade) as CFO early in his career. As far as I know, no one else has his record.
1 person likes this.

Reply 19 - Posted by: Omen55 7/12/2020 1:16:45 PM (No. 475835)
Here is a reason "suits" has become a derisive insult.
0 people like this.

Reply 20 - Posted by: JHHolliday 7/12/2020 3:45:07 PM (No. 475986)
When my wife and I married almost fifty years ago, we bought nothing but GE appliances. Along through the years, we bought some more and witnessed first hand the declining quality of their products. We buy other brands now but to be honest, most seem cheaply made and flimsy.
1 person likes this.

Reply 21 - Posted by: Hermoine 7/12/2020 5:29:01 PM (No. 476092)
Not surprising at ALL. I always thought this guy was a Grada-A huckster and snake oil salesman. If you recall, he had his nose so far up Obama's rear-end, that it was embarrassing. He ought to be sued into oblivion...better yet, he should've been investigated by the SEC and DOJ -- he basically did what Andrew Fastow at Enron did, just differently.
1 person likes this.

Reply 22 - Posted by: NYbob 7/12/2020 9:33:43 PM (No. 476279)
I used to do work in corporate communications and had insider experiences with Kodak, IBM, Bausch and Lomb, Xerox and others. Most of the American businesses I worked with got fat and happy with mountains of deadwood middle management. In 1982 I was young enough to think the recession would be great because after the recovery the idiots would be gone and the productive people I was working with would advance. In fact the opposite happened. The productive people were out and the idiots stayed. The producers were working. The idiots were building and protecting their power base. All of the rot I saw was about power bases to grab as much money for themselves as possible. NO regard to the future, their markets or the competition. The board of directors for Bausch and Lomb were the rubber stamping group of friends of the CEO, just like every other corporate board I've ever seen. Of all the imploding stupidity of the companies I've seen, Kodak takes the case. A true giant right into the late 1980s, then the lack of vision and greedheads running the place killed a sure thing. Like Xerox giving away modern computing and GE selling the cloud for peanuts, Kodak could have owned digital tech. They invented it and then actively tried to kill it. Because their leadership had no intention of leading anything except setting records for exit packages. All of it was disgusting, but sadly predictable. Too much of America is all talk. Platitudes instead of results. No one wants to risk failure or feel pain or gore any sacred cows. Steve Jobs was a lot of things, but he is a standout in a sad line of CEOs because he insisted that Apple be more competitive about their products than the competition. He made big bets and achieved the unbelievable. Just like Elon Musk. For all their faults they are giants compared to the grubby losers that strangled once great companies.
0 people like this.

Reply 23 - Posted by: doctorfixit 7/13/2020 2:30:03 AM (No. 476461)
"The corporations proud culture" of making napalm to cook the Viet Nam people, PCBs to destroy the environment and despoil the Hudson River, a proud history of assassinating Tesla's character, scamming the US taxpayer in every conceeivable way, and spawning the #1 anti-American NBC network. Years ago General Electric abruptly shut down the Syracuse Assembly Plant that employed thousands of my neighbors without a fare-thee-well and moved the whole operation to Singapore. Their stuff is crap. That evil company cannot possibly go to hell quickly enough.
0 people like this.

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