Home Web timeline From Edison to Welch to Culp: The Rise and Fall of GE

From Edison to Welch to Culp: The Rise and Fall of GE


The General Electric logo is seen in a Sears store in Schaumburg, Illinois on September 8, 2014. REUTERS / Jim Young / File Photo

Nov. 9 (Reuters) – General Electric (GE.N), whose innovations range from x-ray machines and fluorescent lights to television broadcasting, on Tuesday announced plans to split into three state-owned companies. Read more

Here is a timeline of key events in GE history:

** In 1890, Thomas Alva Edison, inventor of the light bulb, created the Edison General Electric Co, which later merged with a rival to form the General Electric Co.

** In 1896, GE became one of 12 companies listed on the new Dow Jones Industrial Average.

** In 1941, GE built the first American jet engine, the AI, which was used the following year to power the first American jet aircraft for military use. Eventually 100,000 GE turbochargers were used by the US military in airplanes during World War II.

** In 1957, GE supplied electricity to nearly 120,000 customers from the world’s first commercial nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania.

** Jack Welch took over as GE in 1981 and led the company for over 20 years. Welch renamed the company “GE”. He passed away in 2020.

** Jeffrey Immelt took over the reins of GE on September 7, 2001, days before the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington triggered a long recession in the key aviation market.

** Immelt stepped down as CEO after 16 years and was replaced by GE Healthcare Unit Head John Flannery in August 2017.

** The company exited the Dow Jones index in June 2018.

** Flannery was ousted in October 2018 due to GE’s slow turnaround and a massive $ 23 billion depreciation in its power division. He was replaced by Larry Culp.

** In October 2018, Culp took his first step in relaunching the conglomerate by reducing its dividend to a penny of 12 cents to preserve liquidity.

** GE, in January 2019, announced that it would combine its battery and grid storage units in its wind and hydroelectric operations to reduce costs.

** A month later, GE announced plans to sell its biopharmaceuticals business to Danaher Corp for $ 21.4 billion in the biggest reversal of strategy under Culp.

** A sign that Culp’s turnaround strategy was working, GE raised its full-year profit forecast in July 2019 and said it could generate up to $ 1 billion in free cash flow .

** A year later, the COVID-19 pandemic hit GE’s finances, resulting in a larger-than-expected quarterly loss in 2020. Its aerospace unit, the most profitable and cash-generating business segment, recorded the largest drop in sales and orders.

** In March 2021, Culp presented plans to sell GE’s leasing business to Ireland’s AerCap in a deal worth more than $ 30 billion, with the aim of reducing debt and focus on GE’s industrial core in energy, renewable energy, aviation and healthcare. Read more

** On November 9, Culp ends the era of GE’s conglomerates with a plan to split it into three public companies that would focus on energy, healthcare and aviation. Read more

Source: – company website, Reuters articles, regulatory documents

Report by Abhijith Ganapavaram in Bengaluru; Editing by Sweta Singh and Anil D’Silva

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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