Per Shock Exchange, GE’s demise began in 1998 once former CEO Jack Welch chose Jeffrey Immelt as CEO over the more-qualified Gary Wendt:
After Welch decided Wendt was the right man to succeed him, in 1998 he asked Wendt to resign out of fear Wend would overshadow his hand-picked successor. At the time I surmise that since Sendt’s talent and lace of deference to Welch made him a liability, by definition, the next CEO of GE had to be someone (i) talented, but not tlented enough to overshadow Welch and (ii) with a proven ability to pay homage to Neutron Jack.
That successor turned out to be Jeffrey Immelt, thn head of GE Medical systems. but unlity my original assumption, Immelt has proven to be anything but “meek.” When it comes to exporting jobs abroad and shielding U.S. taxes, Immelt has shown restraint. Of the multinantionals that export jobs overseas, GE has been one of the largest. In 2001 its domestic employees versus those abroad were 158,000 and 152,000, respectively. By 2010 its domestic employees had decline to 133,000 while its multinational employees held steady at 154,000.
Immelt’s reign as CEO ended in June 2017. After running GE into the ground Immelt exited stage left to leave John Flannery holding the bag. Flannery was fired in October and replaced with new CEO Larry Culp. Before Immelt left he repurchased tens of billions of GE stock that inured to the benefit of him and the GE executives. What remains is a carcass of the former GE, a $115 billion debt load and headwinds from the next recession.