Former General Electric CEO Dies

Credit: Adam Jeffery/CNBC

Jack Welch has passed at the age of 84.

Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric, passed away on Sunday night due to renal failure. Welch led the company from 1981 to 2001 as its leader, leaving behind a record of impressive revenue and divisive business maneuvers.

“Today is a sad day for the entire GE family,” current GE CEO Larry Culp said in a public statement. “Jack was larger than life and the heart of GE for half a century. He reshaped the face of our company and the business world. Jack was a strong and constant influence throughout my career despite never having worked directly for him.”

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Welch’s tenure as head of GE is often cited as the company’s best years, with an unprecedented stock market value rise from $14 billion to over $400 billion during those two decades. Welch often pushed GE into pursuing other fields beyond its primary. Welch was one of the primary contributors to the creation of CNBC in 1989, as well as the instigator behind the takeover of RCA, which was sold to Comcast in 2013. Welch also led the creation of GE Capital, which was one of the largest banks in the world until the financial crisis of 2008, which dealt a heavy blow to the company.

One of Welch’s common nicknames in the business was “Neutron Jack.” He was called this due to his frequent tendencies to slash employees and sectors from the company. According to Welch’s 2001 book, “Jack: Straight From the Gut,” he personally cut GE’s workforce from 411,000 to 299,000 during his first five years as head.

Welch’s funeral will be held on a currently unannounced date in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New Work. He is survived by his third wife, Suzy Welch.

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