Recorded June 3, 2021.
When Jeff Immelt stepped into the role of CEO at General Electric in September 2001, the company’s stock was trading at 60 times earnings and its former CEO, Jack Welch – arguably one of the most famous leaders in history –was just named “Manager of the Century” by Fortune Magazine. Just four days after Jeff took over, however, 9/11 would rock the foundation of America and the world. It would also mark the beginning of a challenging period for GE that it has still not recovered from two decades later.
In this session, Jeff gives a candid account of what happened at GE during his 16-year tenure at the helm. As detailed in his newly-released book, Hot Seat: What I Learned Leading a Great American Company, Jeff shares the mistakes he made and the obstacles he faced during his time at the storied company once-considered a leader in innovation. He talks openly about the hard-won lessons he learned from his experience leading GE after 9/11, through the 2008–09 financial crisis, and into an increasingly globalized world. Jeff’s insight into how to lead a company during challenging times is invaluable as the corporate world continues to face upheaval and uncertainty. Moderating the conversation is Cresset advisory board member Alex Dimitrief. Alex is a director, CEO, general counsel and trial lawyer who has steered numerous global businesses through complex commercial and legal challenges, including General Electric from 2007-2019.
Jeff served as the ninth chairman of General Electric from 2001 until he stepped down in 2017. Currently, he is a partner at NEA, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a lecturer at Stanford University. He has been named one of the “World’s Best CEOs” three times by Barron’s, has received fifteen honorary degrees and chaired the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness under the Obama administration.
About Jeff Immelt
Jeff Immelt is the former ninth chairman of General Electric and served as CEO for sixteen years. Currently, he is a partner at NEA and the author of Hot Seat: What I Learned Leading a Great American Company. Immelt has been named one of the “World’s Best CEOs” three times by Barron’s. During his tenure as CEO, GE was named “America’s Most Admired Company” by Fortune magazine and one of “The World’s Most Respected Companies” in polls by Barron’s and the Financial Times. Immelt has received fifteen honorary degrees and numerous awards for business leadership and chaired the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness under the Obama administration. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a lecturer at Stanford University. Immelt earned a BA in applied mathematics from Dartmouth College and an MBA from Harvard University. He and his wife have one daughter.