Jack Welch

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Date Submitted: 09/27/2012 06:46 AM

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Jack Welch: Early life and career

Jack Welch was born in Peabody, Massachusetts to John, a Boston & Maine Railroad conductor, and Grace, a housewife.

Welch attended Salem High School and later the University of Massachusetts Amherst, graduating in 1957 with a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering. Welch went on to receive his M.S. and Ph.D at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1960.

Welch joined General Electric in 1960. He worked as a junior engineer in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, at a salary of $10,500 annually. Welch was named a vice president of GE in 1972. He moved up the ranks to become senior vice president in 1977 and vice chairman in 1979. Welch became GE's youngest chairman and CEO in 1981, succeeding Reginald H. Jones.

General Electric: The Company

The General Electric (GE) that Jeffrey Immelt inherited in 2001, after Jack welch retired, was widely regarded as one of the world’s most successful companies of all time. It is the only company to have remained a member of the Dow Jones industrial index since the index was first created. Throughout its history, it has been associated with near-continuous growth and above average profitability. GE was founded in 1892 from the merger of Thomas Edison’s Electric Light Company with the Thomas Houston Company. Its business was based upon exploiting Edison’s patents relating to electricity generation and distribution, light bulbs, and electric motors. During the twentieth century it became not only the biggest and most diversified industrial corporation in America, but a model of management – a laboratory studied by business schools and raided by other companies seeking skilled executives.

Two decades under Jack Welch’s leadership had bolstered GE’s reputation for effective management. In 2001, Fortune magazine named GE as America’s “most admired company” for the fifth year in succession, and the Financial Times identified GE as the “world’s most respected company” for...