GE’s Jeff Immelt Is Out
GE’s Jeff Immelt announced early Monday morning that he is stepping down as CEO of the company, beginning August 1.
Immelt, who has helmed the company since 2001 and oversaw the relocation of its headquarters from Connecticut to Boston, will be replaced by John Flannery, the current President and CEO of GE Healthcare. He will remain on as chairman of its board through the end of 2017.
— Jeff Immelt (@JeffImmelt) June 12, 2017
The company said in a statement that his decision is “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,” says Jack Brennan, lead independent director for GE’s Board of Directors.
The last few years of Immelt’s leadership had begun rankling Wall Street investors eager for higher returns from the 125-year-old behemoth founded by Thomas Edison. Not long ago, when Boston profiled him in a cover story, Immelt and his associates expressed that he had no plans of jumping ship.
Immelt, a 61-year-old Harvard Business School alum, bought a $7.5 million home on Commonwealth Avenue last year. The announcement means he won’t be there to see the opening of GE’s new building in Fort Point, which is scheduled to occur in early 2018.
After a decade of declining stock prices, speculation about Immelt’s imminent ouster has been rampant since 2014. In the years prior, Immelt led the company through the challenges of September 11 and the economic struggles of 2008 while engineering a pivot toward software in recent years, and said part of his motivation for moving GE to Boston’s Seaport was to be enmeshed in a tech-focused neighborhood.
When he spoke with Boston in March, he said the shift in focus would take time to set in.
“You’re probably not going to know the impact I’ve had on this company for years, decades in the future,” he said, adding, “The company is better than when I came here. So I’m able to say, ‘Let’s see how it goes. Let it come.’”