Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric who grew the company’s stock price by 4,000%, has died at the age of 84

Image
Jack Welch. Welch Way


Jack Welch, an influential American businessman and former CEO of General Electric, has died at the age of 84.

Image
Jack Welch. Brian Snyder/Getty Images

Source: CNN, The New York Times


Jack was the CEO of General Electric between 1981 and 2001.

Image
General Electric was founded in 1892. Mike Simons / Getty Images

Source: Forbes


Under his leadership, the company’s revenue grew from $US25 billion to $US130 billion, its income from $US1.5 billion to $US15 billion, and its market capitalisation from $US14 billion to $US400 billion.

Image
Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric. REUTERS

Source: Business Insider, The New York Times


In 1999, Fortune named Welch the “Manager of the Century,” both for his work making GE among the world’s most valuable companies and for his influence as a managerial thinker.

Image
Jack Welch, centre, chairman and CEO of General Electric, laughs during a visit to the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in 1996. AP Images

Source: CNN Money


As a manager, Jack approached each business with a “fix, close or sell” attitude. He presided over almost 1,000 deals during his time as CEO.

Image
Jack Welch at the 100th anniversary of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, 1996. GE was the only company remaining from the original Dow Jones listing. Richard Drew/AP Images

Source: The Wall Street Journal


Despite his transformative impact on GE’s value, Welch fired over 100,000 people during his first five years as CEO, earning him the nickname of “Neutron Jack,” which he despised.

Image
Jack Welch. Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for LinkedIn

Source: CNBC,CBS News


His differentiation system, also known as “rank and yank,” created a competitive internal corporate structure, in which the top 20% of managers received benefits and the bottom 10% got fired.

Image
Jack Welch addressing students at MIT. Elise Amendola/AP Images

Source: The New York Times, CNBC


Jack transformed his personal wealth as well. When he first began working at GE in 1960 as a chemical engineer, he made $US10,500 a year, and by the time he left the company in 2001, he was making $US16 million a year.

Image
General Electric. Mike Blake/Reuters

Source: Boston Magazine, CNBC


Jack received a $US417 million severance package when he retired, which is one of the largest that any American CEO has ever received.

Image
Jack Welch. Richard Drew/AP

Source: Forbes


Shortly after his retirement, Jack and his then wife, Jane, underwent a contentious divorce. Their legal battle revealed both an affair Jack had with Suzy Wetlaufer, who he later married in 2004, and lavish perks GE had been giving the retired executive.

Image
Jack and Suzy Welch after their marriage ceremony in Boston, 2004. The couple met in 2001 when Suzy was writing a story about him for the Harvard Business Review. Michael Dwyer/REUTERS

Source: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times


After his retirement, Jack wrote multiple books, taught as a visiting professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, and often appeared on TV as a business commentator.

Image
Jack Welch on CNBC. CNBC

Source: Business Insider, Forbes


Jack’s third wife, Suzy Welch, called him a “leader, business icon, management genius,” and a “lifeforce made of love,” in a statement to CNBC after his passing.

Image
Jack Welch and his wife, Suzy Welch. AP

Source: CNBC