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Jeff Immelt, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of General Electric


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"The most important thing I've learned since becoming CEO is context. It's how your company fits in with the world and how you respond to it"
- Jeff Immelt, Chairman and CEO


Background Information

Jeff Immelt has been close to GE his whole life. His father worked for GE Aircraft Engines in Cincinnati, Ohio for 38 years. It did not take long for Jeff to join the GE family, after he received his B.A. degree in applied mathematics from Dartmouth and his M.B.A. from Harvard, he took his first job with GE in 1982 as an Internal Marketing Consultant. Since then he has held many positions in the various business of GE working as an internal marketing consultant, District sales manager in Plastics, Vice president of consumer services in the appliance division, vice president and general manager of Plastics, the CEO of Medical Systems, and finally in 2001 he took over for Welch as the Chairman and CEO of GE.
For more info see: www.portfolio.com/resources/executive-profiles/Jeffrey-R-Immelt-17359

Key Decisions Made by Immelt

The first major decision made by Jeff was in 2002 to appoint Bob Concoran as the first Vice-president for Corporate Citizenship and began the GE foundation. Fortune magazine says "Rarely is corporate giving both benevolent and strategic. GE is one company that does philanthropy right."

Fast Facts:
-Commited a total of $150 million to six U.S. school districts to develop futures in education
-Five-year commitment to give $18 million to the New York City public schools to develop science programs
-Commited $20 million for healthcare, expertise, and equipment to Ghana, a country where it does no business
-Gave and additional $10 million to African countries for healthcare
-In 2007 GE gave away $107 million in cash and product donations, 40% of which was to match employee gifts

What Jeff has to say about GE Foundation
"The world's changed, businesses today aren't admired. Size is not respected. There's a bigger gulf today between haves and have-nots than ever before. It's up to us to use our platform to be a good citizen. Because not only is it a nice thing to do, it's a business imperative."
-Jeff Immelt 2004

However one of the most notable decisions made by Immelt was to "go green" at GE with a focus on environmentally friendly practices called Ecomagination.external image 20065454131_11737661341120045503Speech_Jeff_Immelt.jpg

Fast Facts:
- Launched in May 2005, four years after he took over, with little support from other top
executives who mostly voted against the action.
- Even amidst turbulence Ecomagination revenues to rise 21% in 2008 to about $17 billion
- Total energy savings for GE $100 million
- At the outset he wanted to double the companies research into clean technologies
- By 2010 the company plans to invest $1.5 Billion annually in Reasearch and Development
-The division currently has 70 ecomagination-certified products

What Jeff has to say about Ecomagination:
"There is a green lining among the current economic stormclouds and GE customers and investors are benefiting. Cleaner innovation and technology resonate in the marketplace, while we slash our own energy and water costs and emissions, further strengthening GE's competitive position and the advantage GE offers to its customers.
GE will help build tomorrow's smart energy grid; help drive electric vehicles out of the labs and onto the worlds roadways; and work to build advanced, cleaner energy production in the U.S., India, China, and the Middle East at a mammoth scale. Nobody else can do this like GE can."
- Jeff Immelt

Interested? Want to know more? See these links for Videos and other information:
http://ge.ecomagination.com

http://www.ge.com/foundation/

Leadership Styles

Jeff Immelt employs aspects of both a democratic style and an autocratic style of leadership. He uses his leadership position to build and maintain positive relationships with many of his fellow coworkers. Immelt says, “I have a personally informal style that encourages two-way dialogue, but I match that with strong professional discipline so that people know what to expect.” This level of control and order is an illustration of his autocratic leadership style, which according to our book, “uses strong, directive, controlling actions to enforce the rules, regulations, activities, and relationships in the work environment.” This mixture of leadership methods allows Immelt to excel in leader-member relations. Throughout his career, Jeff Immelt has been known for establishing a personal connection with as many employees as he possibly can. He always says that, “my job isn’t to manage 300,000 people, it is to manage you. We run the company so that 300,000 people feel the chairman might enter their world at any time.” He makes a point of calling fellow workers just to tell them that they are performing well, and is often described as being “more like a coach cheering on the home team.” This coaching is an example of Immelt’s charismatic leadership, a type of inspirational leadership, which he uses to motivate his fellow workers, which can lead to higher job satisfaction and productivity. Immelt stands out as such a great leader because he truly enjoys spending time with his group members in an attempt to reach a better understanding of the building blocks of the company.

With this type of reputation, Immelt and GE have little trouble with recruiting the best talent available. According to Robert Blake and Jane Mouton’s Leadership Grid, Jeff Immelt is a perfect example of a team manager. First of all, he understands that “human resources has to be more than a department.” General Electric spends $1 billion on training in order to “connect people across the company.” Immelt says that in an interview, the first thing he does is to “ask people about their teams,” because he searches for workers who have experience working within a team, often hiring people that “want to bring other people with them.” His first priority is to create a team of devoted people that can work together and can be highly productive in completing their task. He believes that although GE is a conglomerate, it is vital to view the company as one, saying that GE has “One balance sheet. One set of values. Together, that’s what makes GE.” Once in General Electric, Immelt establishes job rotation into the workplace, but he recognizes the importance rotating the group members slowly to “develop domain experience and technical understanding.” By having group members with knowledge of multiple parts of the organization, Immelt can build groups with higher levels of creativity, cohesion, and synergy.


Jeff Immelt 11/6/08: Citizenship and Corporate Responsibility



Jeff Immelt: Building a Better Tomorrow Today
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