Facebook Twitter

GE chief to retire officially at Sept. 7 board meeting

SHARE GE chief to retire officially at Sept. 7 board meeting

FAIRFIELD, Conn. — General Electric Co. chairman Jack Welch said Thursday he will officially retire at the company's Sept. 7 board meeting.

Welch, 65, had planned to retire in April but deferred his departure to shepherd the $41 billion merger of GE and Honeywell International Inc. That deal was derailed earlier this month by objections from European Union antitrust regulators.

His successor, president and chairman-elect Jeffrey R. Immelt, was announced last November.

In a news release Thursday announcing second-quarter earnings of $3.9 billion — meeting analysts' expectations — Welch said he would be stepping down on the Friday after Labor Day. He said he is leaving "more confident than ever that Jeff Immelt and his team will lead the company to greater achievements in the future."

John F. Welch's hands-on leadership is credited with shaping GE into an international conglomerate ranging from jet engines to medical equipment to the NBC television network. His pronouncements are watched by Wall Street and his management style held up as a model.

Welch has some 40 years of service with GE, including 20 as chairman. He stage-managed the selection of Immelt, and said in March it was his intention to "get out of the way" of his successor.

Welch, who has received a gigantic $7.1 million advance to write a book about business management, has said he does not intend to run another company, but would consider a non-executive chairmanship or a position mentoring other executives.

He said he envisioned an informal, personal and private relationship with a handful of executives rather than a broad consulting role, and wanted to work with managers on real projects rather than hypotheticals.