Jack Welch and Jeffrey Immelt - Continuity and Change in Strategy, Style
and Culture at GE
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Case Code : LDEN040
Case Length : 22 Pages
Period : 1981-2006
Pub Date : 2006
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : General Electric Company Industry : Diversified
Countries : USA
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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.
"I'm a different generation from Jack…..I have a different
view of the world."
- Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of General Electric, in 2002.1
"The thing that makes me most proud of Jeff is his
visibility in tough times."
- Jack Welch, Former CEO of General Electric, in 2002.2
An Inauspicious Beginning
Jeffrey Immelt (Immelt) became the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the General
Electric Company (GE) on September 7, 2001, drawing to a close one of the
longest3 succession planning programs in corporate
Immelt succeeded Jack Welch (Welch), who was generally acknowledged as one of
the most successful CEOs in business history for his management of GE in the
twenty years he headed the company. On September 11, 2001, just four days after
Immelt finally stepped into the job that he had been in training for almost a
year, the infamous terrorist attack took place, when hijackers crashed planes
into the Pentagon and the twin towers of the World Trade Center.
This event shocked the world and left the US economy - already in bad shape
from a recession and the bursting of the dotcom bubble in 2000 - battered.
It was an inauspicious beginning for Immelt. As a huge, diversified company,
GE had interests in several sensitive industries like aircraft engines,
plastics and insurance, which were sure to suffer the after-effects of
The terrorist attacks were a harbinger of bad times to come for GE. As of
early 2006, in the four and a half years that he had headed GE, Immelt had
had to deal with a series of problems.
By 2002, GE's share price had fallen to levels much below its peak in early
2001, and even by mid 2006, showed no significant improvement (Refer Exhibit
I for GE's share price).
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