Jeffrey Immelt Steps Down as GE Chairman of the Board Early
General Electric announced October 2 that Jeff Immelt has stepped down as chairman of the board earlier than planned. CEO John Flannery will step in to replace him.
Earlier reports indicated that Immelt would step down as CEO effective August 1, and then stay on as chairman of the board through the end of the year, but clearly that decision has changed. The GE press release indicates that the change comes “in light of Mr. Immelt’s determination that the CEO transition has proceeded smoothly.” The rest of the board voted today to confirm that choice. The Wall Street Journal reports that Immelt felt giving full control to Flannery was necessary “as he prepares to make some difficult changes at the company.”
Flannery, the former head of GE Health, was announced as Immelt’s successor June 12, which was the same day the announcement came through that Immelt would be leaving. In recent months, Immelt’s name was reportedly in the mix as a possible new leader of ride-sharing company Uber following the departure of controversial founder Travis Kalanick, but Expedia’s Dara Khosrowshahi was ultimately picked. GE also announced that Immelt has officially stepped down as chairman of Baker Hughes, a GE oilfield company, and was replaced by CEO Lorenzo Simonelli.
Immelt had faced questions about his leadership over falling stock prices and his plans for the future of the company, but at the time of his departure, the company praised him for doubling its industrial profit over the course of his time there, as well as his leadership during the financial crisis.