Jack Welch and Jeffrey Immelt - Continuity and Change in Strategy, Style and Culture at GE

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Case Details:

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.

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Jack Welch

Welch, the son of a railway conductor, was born on November 19, 1935 at Salem, Massachusetts. He studied chemical engineering at the University of Massachusetts, from where he graduated in 1957. He then moved to the University of Illinois, where he received his Masters and Ph.D in chemical engineering. Welch joined GE in 1960 as a junior engineer at a salary of $10,500 per annum. He was not happy with the excessively bureaucratic culture of the company. In 1961, soon after he completed his first year at GE, he put in his papers as he was disappointed with the $1000 raise he received.

He accepted a job at a company called International Minerals & Chemicals Corporation. But just a few days before he was due to leave GE, Reuben Gutoff (Gutoff), Welch's immediate superior, took him out to dinner and spent four hours trying to convince him to stay with GE. Gutoff promised Welch that he would try to create a good work atmosphere for him - one that would combine a "small-company environment, with big-company resources." He also assured Welch that he would keep him from getting entangled with GE's bureaucracy.

Jeffrey Immelt

Immelt was born in 1956 in Cincinnati, Ohio. His father was an employee of GE's Aircraft Engines division. As a child, Immelt was active in sports and was on the football and basketball teams at his school. He majored in mathematics from Dartmouth College in the late 1970s, after which he joined Proctor & Gamble Co. (P&G) as a member of its brand management team. After about a year with P&G, Immelt enrolled for an MBA from Harvard. On finishing his course, he joined GE as a marketing executive in 1982 at the company's headquarters in Fairfield, Connecticut.


Exhibit I: GE's Share Prices
Exhibit II: A Note on Six Sigma
Exhibit III: GE's Revenues 1981-2000 (in Millions of US Dollars)
Exhibit IV: GE's Revenues and Earnings
Exhibit V: Some of GE's Business Acquisitions under Immelt
Exhibit VI: GE's Business Reorganization in 2005


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