GE CEO Immelt to Step Down, GE Healthcare Leader Taking Over

General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt will step down Aug. 1 and be replaced by John Flannery, the head of GE’s healthcare business, the company announced today.

The move comes as GE goes through some major changes, including relocating its global headquarters from Fairfield, CT, to Boston, and attempting to transform its business (and its reputation) into more of a software-focused industrial manufacturer.

Immelt has helped drive both initiatives. The 61-year-old took the helm of the giant company in 2001, and has led it through a transformation of its portfolio, as well as world events such as the 9/11 tragedy and the 2008 financial crisis, GE noted in a press release. During his tenure, GE sold its appliances and plastics businesses and NBC Universal, while making acquisitions in sectors such as energy (Alstom), 3D printing (Arcam and SLM Solutions Group), and cloud-based software (ServiceMax), to name a few examples.

Over the past five years, GE’s stock (NYSE: GE) has risen from around $17 per share to $27.94 per share, as of Friday’s closing price. But investors appear to be happy with the news of the leadership change—GE’s stock is up around 4 percent in pre-market trading.

The CEO transition is a result of GE’s succession plan that has been run by its board since 2011, the company said in the press release.

John Flannery

Flannery, 55, started his career at GE Capital in 1987. He has lived outside the U.S. for nearly half of his career, which includes running GE’s equity business, its India business, and its healthcare business.

In a prepared statement, Immelt said Flannery will be trusted by investors, customers, and employees.

“John is the right person to lead GE today,” Immelt said in the statement. “He has broad experience across multiple businesses, cycles, and geographies. He has a track record of success and led one of our most essential businesses.”

Flannery will become CEO effective Aug. 1 and chairman effective Jan. 1. Immelt will remain chairman through his retirement from GE on Dec. 31.

[Immelt is pictured in the center of the top photo, taken by Xconomy editor Greg Huang at an event in Boston last year.]

Jeff Engel is a senior editor at Xconomy. Email: jengel@xconomy.com Follow @JeffEngelXcon

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