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Welch: An American Icon

Welch: An American Icon

Janet Lowe

ISBN: 978-0-471-25522-2

Sep 2002

304 pages

In Stock



A rare perspective on the personal philosophy, business savvy, and future of the chairman of the most admired company in the world
Jack Welch, chairman of General Electric, is due to retire this spring. Welch has transported GE into the new economy with his management style, his forward-thinking approach to new technology, and by encouraging creativity among his employees. This book provides a look at what the innovative powerhouse executive has brought to American business and what will ultimately be his legacy. Thorough, authoritative, and absorbing, Welch: An American Icon includes interviews with CEOs at other leading companies who have worked under Welch and been trained by him, as well as interviews with other GE executives.
Janet Lowe (Del Mar, CA) is an investment writer and author who has written sixteen business and biographical works, including the recent Damn Right!: Behind the Scenes with Berkshire-Hathaway Billionaire Charlie Munger (0-471-24473-2). Ms. Lowe is past editor of the San Diego Daily Transcript and Financial Editor of the San Diego Tribune. More than 200 of her business articles have appeared in such publications as Newsweek, the Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Preface 7

Acknowledgements 11

Part I The Jack Welch Legacy 13

Chapter One The House of Magic: How Welch Became an American Icon 27

Chapter Two The Gospel of Good Management 49

Part II General Electric Then and Now 69

Chapter Three The Companies General Electric Dumped 81

Chapter Four The Companies General Electric Acquired 93

Chapter Five Building from Within 113

Chapter Six The Globalization of General electric 129

Chapter Seven Wired Welch 147

Chapter Eight The Dark Side of the Legacy 167

Part II The Future 189

Chapter Nine The Meta-Corporation: General Electric after Welch 201

Chapter Ten Welch after General Electric 223

Chapter Eleven Welch’s Place in History 235

Appendixes 245

Appendix A General Electric and Jack Welch: The Chronology 247

Appendix B GE Values 255

Appendix C The CERES Principles 257

Appendix D General Electric Businesses 261

Appendix E General Electric-Nineteen-Year Performance Figures: 1980-1999 275

Notes 277

Index 297

Welch: An American Icon by Janet Lowe. If Jack Welch isn't a household name, he should be, Lowe says. ""Welch is a guy who makes a lot of things happen, all kinds of things that affect the lives of all of us, even when we're not aware of it."" (USA Today September 10, 2001)

""When business writer Lowe (Damn Right, etc.) approached GE Chairman Jack Welch about a book (Jack Welch Speaks, her first book on him), ""[h]e said he did not see any purpose in -yet another book."" Lowe's respectable, ultimately redundant book portrays Welch as a captain of industry who commands the kind of attention that top executives crave and almost never get. The near-mythical story of GE's wrenching turnaround earns Welch abundant positive and negative buzz. Unlike many of Welch's contemporaries, he has stayed with the same company for the long run (since 1960), becoming chairman in 1981 and immediately restructuring the massive conglomerate, earning the moniker ""Neutron Jack"" because of his huge layoffs along the way. Through a combination of radical structural changes, a near-fanatical devotion to the Six Stigma management system and an acquisition blitzkrieg, GE leapt into the 21st century, taking no prisoners. Critics noted that under his stewardship, deep workforce reductions accompanied Welch's own ballooning salary and a tendency to treat workers and their hometowns as dispensable (Welch has said, ""Ideally, you'd have every plant you own on a barge, to move with currencies and changes in the economy""). Lowe promises a balanced look Welch that pulls no punches; for the most part, she delivers. But the book's distracting, episodic style (a lot of the material was left over from the first book) makes it seem little more than an attempt to capitalize on curiosity about Welch prior to the publication of his much touted upcoming book. Several abundant appendices are informative but do little to explain Welch's icon status."" (Publishers Weekly, April 2001)

""...this book is a good read..."" (Ambassador, September 2001)