GE's new CEO Flannery to review portfolio with 'no constraint'

Mon Jun 12, 2017 6:02pm EDT
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By Alwyn Scott and Arunima Banerjee

(Reuters) - General Electric Co's incoming chief executive said he will conduct a swift review of the conglomerate's business portfolio with "no constraint," but signaled no major changes as the company sticks with its strategy of selling software-related services across its many divisions.

The maker of jet engines, power plants, medical scanners and railroad locomotives on Monday named veteran insider John Flannery as its next CEO, taking over from longtime leader Jeff Immelt, who reshaped one of corporate America's icons to focus more on technology but failed to deliver profit growth fast enough for some investors.

"I'm going to do a fast but deliberate, methodical review of the whole company," Flannery told Reuters in an interview. "The board has encouraged me to come in and look at it afresh."

In an earlier call with investors, he said the review would have "no constraint."

Immelt, who will step aside Aug. 1, led GE for 16 years, steering it through the financial crisis but leaving it worth a third less than when he took over.

GE's shares closed up 3.6 percent at $28.94 on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday.

Flannery did not mention any specific plans for GE, but said digital efforts will be at the heart of its strategy.

The company has spent billions of dollars building a digital business that marries electronic sensors and analytic computing to industrial equipment, even though those efforts have not yet boosted GE's bottom line as much investors hoped.   Continued...

General Electric Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt (C), Senior Vice President for Corporate Business Development John Flannery and Clara Gaymard (L), the head of GE France, leave after a meeting with French President to discuss the future of French engineering group Alstom at the Elysee Palace in Paris, May 28, 2014.   REUTERS/Christian Hartmann (FRANCE  - Tags: BUSINESS ENERGY POLITICS) - RTR3R5X5