A couple of months ago, General Electric chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt decided that 16 years at the helm was enough, making Nelson Peltz very happy and Warren Buffett less so. For the sake of putting up some pretense of continuity and pretending that Peltz hadn’t violently shoved him through the doors, Immelt would stick around as chairman for a few months until handing that job off to new CEO John Flannery, as well.
Well, Flannery’s not waiting for his coronation to start undoing some of Immelt’s life work, slashing costs and putting the brakes on GE’s new headquarters campus in Boston. As such, it occurs to Immelt that perhaps Flannery doesn’t need his help anymore.
The company said Mr. Immelt had determined the CEO transition was proceeding smoothly and that Mr. Flannery was ready to take over as chairman, according to a regulatory filing made Monday. The filing says the board concurred….
Mr. Immelt decided to step down sooner than expected to give Mr. Flannery full control as he prepares to make some difficult changes at the company, said people familiar with the matter. The move also frees Mr. Immelt to pursue other opportunities, they added.
To that end, he’s also decided to stop chairing board meetings at Baker Hughes after just a few months at the oil company he merged GE’s petroleum business into. Clean slate. Sure, Uber didn’t come calling. But Jeff’s taking calls, people. Don’t you worry about that. (Hey, Warren, got any boards I can sit on? Mr. President? I am available once Gary or Rex move on.)