| John Francis Welch, Jr.
(1935-11-19) November 19, 1935 (age 76)
Peabody, Massachusetts, U.S.
| Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
| Former CEO of General ElectricAuthor
| $720 million (2006)
| Carolyn Welch, Jane Welch, and Suzy Welch
John Francis "Jack" Welch, Jr. (born (1935-11-19)November 19, 1935) is an American chemical engineer, business executive, and author. He was Chairman and CEO of General Electric between 1981 and 2001. During his tenure at GE, the company's value rose 4000%. In 2006 Welch's net worth was estimated at $720 million. Early life and education
Jack Welch was born in Peabody, Massachusetts to John, a Boston & Maine Railroad conductor, and Grace, a homemaker. Welch attended Salem High School and then University of Massachusetts Amherst, graduating in 1957 with a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering. He is a member of the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity. He received a M.S. and PhD at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1960. Jack Welch, the man behind American conglomerate General Electric, has been named as the most admired businessman of all time in a Guardian poll of Britain's leading bosses. Mr Welch, who took over as chairman of GE in 1981, was picked by nearly half of the FTSE 100 chief executives as the man whose achievements they regarded most highly. But Bill Gates, founder and chairman of Microsoft, was nominated as the most influential business person of the century by one in two executives. Both men were selected from a list of contenders which stretched back to the last century and included giants of the business world whose achievements have transformed modern life such as Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Andrew Carnegie and John D Rockefeller.
In 18 years as the head of GE Mr Welch has increased the value of the group from $14bn (£8.7bn) to more than $400bn. As its eighth chairman in the company's 117 years, he has overseen the recent arrival of $100bn worth of annual sales while net profits are heading for the $10bn mark. Under his tenure, the share price has risen thirtyfold. In his time at the top he has transformed the company from a collection of electrical businesses, ranging from turbines and aero-engines to white goods, and turned it into a vast enterprise, encompassing the NBC television network and a huge lease-finance business, GE Capital, which is now the world's biggest and most successful non-bank financial operation with credit cards and insurance. The corporation also includes plastics, appliances, industrial systems and diagnostic equipment. Mr Welch has sold about $10bn of businesses but has bought companies worth $19bn and has never sacrificed GE's diversity. Welch adopted Motorola's Six Sigma quality program in late 1995. In 1980, the year before Welch became CEO, GE recorded revenues of roughly $26.8 billion. In 2000, the year before he left, the revenues increased to nearly $130 billion. The company had gone from a market value of $14 billion to one of more than $410 billion at the end of 2004, making it the most valuable company in the world He is one of the few chief executives whose shareholders would not argue about his $57m a year pay packet. However, even that pales into insignificance compared to the $100bn fortune amassed by William H Gates, who set up Microsoft 25 years ago General Electric
Welch joined General Electric in 1960. He worked as a junior chemical engineer in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, at a salary of $10,500. While at GE, he blew off the roof of the factory, and was almost fired for doing so. In 1961, Welch planned to quit his job as junior engineer because he was dissatisfied with the raise offered to him and was unhappy with the bureaucracy he observed at GE. Welch was persuaded to remain at GE by Reuben Gutoff, an executive at the company, who promised him that he would help create the small company atmosphere Welch desired. Welch was...
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