General Electric just abruptly ousted CEO John Flannery

05 October, 2018, 23:00 | Author: Denise Dawson
  • John Flannery

General Electric Co. soared after shocking investors by naming Larry Culp chief executive officer and chairman, as the company ousted John Flannery amid a severe share decline.

In a press release, GE specifically cited weak performance in the GE Power business for a shortfall in free cash flow and earnings in 2018, suggesting other businesses were generally performing as expected.

GE Power's current goodwill balance is about $23 billion and the goodwill impairment charge is likely to constitute substantially all of this balance, the company said, though cautioning the charge is not finalized and subject to further review.

Earlier this year GE announced plans to dramatically reshape the company, with plans to sell off a range of businesses including healthcare, transportation and oil & gas, while focusing on three core industrial pillars: Power, Renewable Energy and Aviation.

GE shares jumped 10.2 percent to $12.44 as investors bet Culp could re-energize the GE brand and more quickly transform its portfolio.

Additionally, fellow board member Thomas W. Horton, 57. a onetime chairman and CEO of American Airlines, has been appointed lead director. The stock has more than halved since he took the top job in August last year - about a half-trillion dollars in market value has been wiped out since an all-time high 18 years ago.

GE's shares fell almost one-third this year as investors anxious about the company's mounting debt and shrinking profit. "However, we believe that CEO Culp will, at a minimum, re-baseline the company, drive execution and make long-term decisions that benefit the company and shareholders".

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The industrial giant said John Flannery would be replaced by Larry Culp, former chief executive of manufacturing group Danaher, as it revealed the $23bn writedown charge. "It is a privilege to lead this iconic company".

The troubles in the power plant unit have been intensifying, as Reuters reported in July, with the news that one of its most valuable clients, Saudi Arabia, was lining up competitors to bid against GE for lucrative power plant work.

During a July earnings conference call, Flannery said demand for key power equipment remained depressed and that it would "take some time" for the situation to correct.

In June, GE was taken out of the Dow Jones industrial average, where it had been a fixture since 1907.

Flannery, by contrast, "missed targets and was slow to enact change, creating doubts that an insider like him was capable of doing the heavy lifting needed to turnaround GE", Briefing added.

Analysts noted that despite the seemingly good news, GE still has its work cut out for it.

Culp, 55, was president and CEO of Washington, D.C. -based science and tech company Danaher Corp. from 2000 to 2014.

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