Yesterday morning, ex-CEO of GE (GE) Jack Welch blasted his handpicked successor Jeff Immelt on CNBC, laying responsibility for GE’s first quarter bomb directly at the reeling Immelt’s feet:
“He has a credibility issue,” Welch roared. “He’s getting his arse kicked.”
Yesterday afternoon, after the press began leaping all over this nationally broadcast performance review, Jack began frantically backpedaling on Fox News, blaming the GE miss on those dastardly “market conditions.” And now, with the scandal complete, he has laid off Immelt and is flagellating himself …in the pages of BusinessWeek:
This week, in an effort to put GE’s first-quarter earnings miss in context, I really stepped in it. Much to my shock and horror, remarks I made on CNBC’s Squawk Box about the performance of GE and CEO Jeff Immelt were interpreted to mean the exact opposite of what I intended. Nothing is worse than having a predecessor perceived as commenting negatively on a successor, particularly when the successor is doing a terrific job in a difficult environment. I want to set the record straight. Jeff is an outstanding CEO, and the GE financial model is as attractive as ever. I will endeavour in retirement not to step in it again.
Bonus quiz: When was Jack speaking “straight from the gut”? Tuesday? Today? Both days? You be the judge.
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