1. How difficult was the task facing Immelt assuming the CEO role in 2001? What imperatives where there to change? What incentives to maintain the past?
2. What do you think of the broad objectives Immelt has set for GE? Can a giant global Conglomerate hope to outperform the overall market growth? Can size and diversity be made an asset rather than a liability?
3. What is your evaluation of the growth strategy (a strategy for a giant global conglomerate with a portfolio of mature industrial businesses) Immelt has articulated? Is he betting on the right things to drive growth?
4. How does this case illustrate how strategic intent needs to be matched by both organizational capability and managerial competence; and show how such assets were developed?
5. Examine how broad strategic objectives can be translated into a program of implement able actions.
6. Demonstrate how Immelt’s strategy went beyond optimization to innovation.
7. Show how this new strategy focused on customers.
8. Analyzes how this new strategy emphased services. Was enough done to balance the portfolio of products and services?
9. After 4 ½ years, did Immelt succeed in his objectives? How well is he implementing his strategy? What are his greatest achievements? What is most worrying to you?
10. Beyond this case: We have the benefit of being 4 years beyond this case. What has happened to GE in that timeframe? How has it changed its strategy? It is currently having trouble with GE Capital and outstanding loans and is divesting itself of NBC to Comcast. What do these situations say about the overall strategy?
11. What advice would you offer to Immelt as he faces the next stage of his leadership of GE?
-Challenge as the CEO role in 2001
• On Friday, September 7, 2001, Jeff Immelt filled in for Jack Welchc as CEO of GE. • The global economics is faced with turndowns, and four days after his taking office, the 9/11 attacks occurred and the world was thrown into chaos • Organizational innovation and management system was closely linked with Welch’s personality, but Immelt’s personality and style were totally different from Welch’s. • By the end of Immelt’s first week on the job, GE’s stock had dropped 20%. • Later that year, GE’s stock dropped again on suspicions from the Enron scandal. • Looking back on 2002, it was a horrible year for GE. Revenues were flat, corporate scandals were all over the news, the economy was struggling, and GE’s stock continued to slide, now 60% off of its all-time high from 2001.
- Strategy for the future of GE
• Between 2001 and May 2002, Immelt had devoted himself primarily to shoring up confidence among customers and investors and within the company in the aftermath of the various shocks to the USA and to business opinion. • Immelt constantly went out of his way to emphasize that GE was not an over-grown, slow to move, slow to react conglomerate. • He instead viewed the company as a collection of highly correlated businesses made up of world-class people, processes, and strategic initiatives. • Acting on this, Immelt created a growth strategy made up of 5 key elements as follows: 1. Technical Leadership – Immelt identified technology as a key driver of GE’s future growth and emphasized the need to speed up the diffusion of new technologies within GE and turn the corporate R&D into an intellectual hothouse. 2. Internationalization – GE’s major opportunities for organic growth would be in its overseas operations-particularly in China, India and Europe. 3. Services Acceleration – Take more of the back room resources and put them in the front room-more sales people, more engineers, and more product designers. 3. Commercial Excellence – Shifting focus from GE’s internal processes to external customer requirements. 5. Growth Strategy – Build new businesses based on high-growth and high-margin areas that will provide “unstoppable” opportunities and expand GE’s base.
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