Ex-director Ken Langone: GE’s ‘destruction’ happened after Jack Welch and it could now be ‘busted up’

CNBC

  • The downfall at General Electric has been a “colossal failure” in board leadership, says Ken Langone, former GE director and also co-founder of Home Depot.
  • “The one thing I will fight to my death, this will not be laid on Jack Welch,” he adds.
  • Langone’s effusive praise of Welch as “CEO of the century” contrasted his veiled criticism of Welch’s successor, Jeff Immelt.

The recent implosion of General Electric should not be blamed on Jack Welch, the hard-driving former CEO who had built the conglomerate into a global powerhouse over 20 years, said former GE director Ken Langone.

Langone, billionaire co-founder of Home Depot, told CNBC on Wednesday that the downfall at GE has been a “colossal failure” in board leadership. Langone was on the GE board from 1999 to 2005.

“The one thing I will fight to my death, this will not be laid on Jack Welch,” said Langone, whose effusive praise of Welch as “CEO of the century” contrasted his veiled criticism of Welch’s successor, Jeff Immelt.

“[Immelt] came in, in an aura of a coronation. This big thing, he’s succeeding Jack Welch,” Langone said on “Squawk Box,” though he admitted he had voted for Immelt to succeed Welch. “On paper, [Immelt] looked fabulous. He really did and you can’t take that away from him. Look at the success he had at GE” before he became CEO.

But the idea that “GE was transformed” after Welch was really a “synonym for destruction,” Langone contended, adding he believes there’s a good chance that GE will be “busted up.”

Langone said GE may be a case in which an activist investor might be able to make a difference. Billionaire Trian Partners boss Nelson Peltz, a major GE shareholder, is pushing for changes. Ed Garden, a founding partner of Trian, may be the vehicle as a GE board member.

3 thoughts on “Ex-director Ken Langone: GE’s ‘destruction’ happened after Jack Welch and it could now be ‘busted up’

  1. Pingback: Ex-director Ken Langone: GE’s ‘destruction’ happened after Jack Welch and it could now be ‘busted up’ | PenneyVanderbilt

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