GE CEO Parries Critics —Including Predecessor

Despite missing earnings forecasts, Immelt says he'll stay the course
By Jim O'Neill,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 17, 2008 1:23 PM CDT
GE CEO Parries Critics —Including Predecessor
Jeffrey Immelt, Chairman and CEO of GE, speaks at the company's healthcare summit in this May 15, 2007 file photo.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, file)

General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt faced the music yesterday, as his predecessor, Jack Welch, raked him over the coals on his own cable TV network for missing first-quarter earnings forecasts. Immelt admitted GE “let people down” in downgrading its outlook for 2008, the Wall Street Journal reports. But he said he won’t change the direction he’s set for the company, or cave to demand he split it up.

Welch defended Immelt's strategy—"I truly believe this nonsense about breaking up GE and Immelt's in trouble is crazy"—but not before saying Immelt has a "credibility problem" and that he screwed up by making a promise he broke just weeks later. Since taking over six years ago, Immelt has shed underperforming businesses—and executives—but said he won’t be forced to accelerate his pace. (More General Electric stories.)

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