In the Beginning (www.ge.com)
In 1960 Jack Welch joined General Electric (GE) as a junior plastics engineer. But soon after being hired, he wanted to quit. He didn’t like the management or the work environment. Welch was convinced to stay on by an executive who promised he would create the small-company atmosphere Welch desired to work in.
Welch’s Rise in GE
Almost a decade later, in 1968, Welch was promoted to Vice President of General Electric’s Plastic Division. Under his leadership, GE’s Plastic Division thrived. So, for the next several years, GE rotated Welch around inside the company where he would head up different departments to help get them on track. All of the departments Welch was put in charge of, flourished under this leadership. Then, in 1973, Welch’s big break came when he was handed the job of Head of Strategic Planning for General Electric. This position required Welch to manage a $2 billion budget – his largest financial responsibility so far in GE.
Welch Becomes CEO
Twenty years after starting his career as an engineer, In 1980, GE announced that Jack Welch would take over the role of CEO. Welch held the CEO post for twenty years, (1981 to 2001) until his retirement. During his tenure at GE, the company’s market value increased from $14 billion to $410 billion.
Jack Welch on Leadership
Business academics continue to study Jack Welch’s success as a CEO. Some believe his success was achieved by implementing superb market strategies. Others think he became successful by helping those around him grow and develop. Welch once said, “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” Without question, Welch was a savvy business strategist who understood the value of helping those around him become successful in their own right.
Technology & Business Blogger
Elaine Allan, BA, MBA
Vancouver, BC, Canada