Congratulations to Jack Welch for winning The BrandLaureate Hall of Fame – Lifetime Achievement Award, as the world’s most respected and celebrated CEO. Indeed, you are well deserving of the Award, for transforming General Electric (GE) into one of the most admired and successful company in the world, and propagating the ‘Welch Way’ in revolutionising business through innovative management techniques, besides being the youngest CEO and Chairman of the company at 45.
Born on November 19, 1935, John Francis “Jack” Welch Junior is a dynamic leader with perseverance, whose willingness to learn and adapt with times made him a star performer.
In 1981, at age 45, he became General Electric’s youngest chairman and CEO, succeeding Reginald H. Jones, and gave a rousing speech in New York City called “Growing Fast in a Slow-Growth Economy.”
Welch pioneered a policy of informality at the work place, called “Boundaryless” and defined it as removing the barriers between traditional functions, and finding great ideas, anywhere within the organization, or from outside the organization, and sharing them with everyone in the company.
He allowed all employees to have a small business experience at a large corporation. He worked to eradicate perceived inefficiency by trimming inventories and dismantling the bureaucracy –closed factories, reduced pay rolls and cut lackluster units.
Welch also adopted Motorola’s Six Sigma quality program in late 1995. He is also known for destroying the nine-layer management hierarchy and bringing a sense of informality to the company.
During his tenure at GE, between 1981 and 2001, the company’s value rose 4,000%. In 1980, the year before he became CEO, GE recorded revenues of roughly $26.8 billion. Through his leadership, GE increased the market value of their company to $280 billion, making 600 acquisitions while shifting into emerging markets.
In 2006, Welch’s net worth was estimated at $720 million. When he retired from GE, he received a severance payment of $417 million, the largest such payment in history.
Welch’s public philosophy was that a company should be either No. 1 or No. 2 in a particular industry, or else leave it completely. In his book ‘Jack: Straight From The Gut,” Welch states that GE had 411,000 employees at the end of 1980, and 299,000 at the end of 1985. Of the 112,000 who left the payroll, 37,000 were in businesses that GE sold, and 81,000 were reduced in continuing businesses. In return, GE had increased its market capital tremendously.
He last big initiative – turning GE into an E-Company, was a transformational feat which will inspire generations to come!
Post-retirement, he continues to be active in the world of business, having authored two best-selling business books, and actively managing numerous companies as part of a private equity group; not to mention having written an immensely popular weekly column for BusinessWeek magazine.
Following Welch’s retirement from General Electric, he became an adviser to private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice and to the chief executive of IAC, Barry Diller.
In addition to his consulting and advisory roles, Welch has been active on the public speaking circuit and co-wrote a popular column for BusinessWeek with his wife, Suzy, for four years until November 2009. The column was syndicated by The New York Times.
Indeed, Jack Welch is well deserving of The BrandLaureate Hall of Fame – Lifetime Achievement Award, for transforming General Electric (GE) into the one of the world’s most admired and successful company in the world, and propagating the ‘Welch Way’ in revolutionising business through innovative management techniques.