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Jack Welch at GE

Jack Welch began his career at General Electric as a chemical engineer in the early 1960s, and concluded his career in 2001 as Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Over the course of those 40 years, he earned several nicknames, including "Neutron Jack" and "Jack in the Box," but he is credited with helping reshape GE from a bureaucratic and stodgy traditional corporation to an entrepreneurial and high-technology company that embraces change. Marketing--himself, his people, his vision as well as his products--played a key role in the success of GE during Welch's tenure, and he recently put many of his observations together in Jack: Straight from the Gut. This research examines the concepts that Welch puts forward in his book and considers why GE was successful in some projects, unsuccessful in others, and how their competitors fared against them.

Welch recognized the importance of maintaining a strong brand from his first days as CEO. The GE brand carried considerable weight with customers, representing quality and value, but the company had also been in business since the late 1800s. That history was part of what led to the company's bureaucratic structure, but it also provided the company with the resources--because of brands--that could sustain the growth that characterized the company during the 1980s and 1990s. Moving to protect the GE brand, Welch sold the air conditioning business of GE to Trane early in his tenure as CEO. At the time, GE air conditioners were distributed through third parties and installed by third parties; this diluted the strength of the brand. Consumers might purchase a GE air conditioner because of the name, but if they were disappointed in the installation or service, they also blamed GE, although GE had nothing to do with these aspects. Welch sold the business in part because it did not fit with the company's strategy, but also because selling it helped to protect the valuable brand that the company...

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Jack Welch at GE. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 13:13, April 21, 2019, from