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Jeff Immelt

Jeff in KL: 8 nuggets of wisdom

October 05, 2016
GE chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt was in Kuala Lumpur recently (Sept 22), and although he had a hectic schedule, including a meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, he made sure to spend some time with his GE colleagues in Malaysia.

More than 400 employees attended the townhall and hi-tea with Immelt at Hilton Kuala Lumpur. Below are excerpts from the townhall session.

1. “When we play together, there is more that we can achieve”On GE Store as aplatform to drive efficiency and reduce bureaucracy.

2. “GE is different from other conglomerates. Make our size our advantage, not our disadvantage” With 330,000 employees in 185 countries, Immelt stressed on the importance of decentralising– “having simpler processes, fewer layers, better IT tools”.

3. “Most joint ventures don’t work. So what’s unusual about it is, that it worked. It worked because it is win-win, with both parties willing to compromise.” On the joint venture with French-based Snecma (Safran) to create CFM International, a 50:50 partnership to develop revolutionary commercial aircraft engines.

4. “This gave us the ability to show the government that we have invested in France for more than 40 years gave us credibility and the acquisition gives GE a stronger presence in Europe.” Having invested in CFM International since 1974, GE made headlines when it acquired Alstom’s power division in November last year for more than USD10 billion.

5. If you’re an industrial company, we believe that the ability to create powerful analytics is important to your success; this will happen with or without us.” Digital Industrial is here to stay, and will be a crucial component to the operations across various industries.

6. “We need to be courageous about what we invest in, and at the same time we need to be accountable to being investors. The things we say we are going to do, we do.” On balancing the fine line between investing in technologies, research and talent, and keeping investor sentiment positive.

7. “When I look out of my office, I can see nothing. When I open my door, I can see nobody. I don’t think this was good for GE.” GE moved its headquarters from Connecticut to Boston, as part of its efforts to streamline operations. “This gives us a chance to simplify the company,” Immelt added.

8. “We’re not bigots at GE; we do not discriminate.” When asked how the outcome of the presidential election will affect GE, Immelt predicted it will be status quo. “We’re a global company. We’ll continue globalising, regardless who the president is”.