John Flannery Ready To Reinvent GE

After restructuring, GE will again be a “tech-driven growth story,” says CEO John Flannery. Flannery, a long-time GE vet, vows to focus on core growth areas.

A General Electric veteran for more than three decades, John Flannery in 2017 was appointed chairman and CEO of the world’s largest digital industrial company, operating in 180 countries around the world.

Flannery joined GE in 1987, and spent more than 20 years at GE Capital holding various leadership roles in the U.S., Latin America, and Asia. In 2009, he was appointed president and CEO of GE India, and in 2013, head of business development for all of GE. Flannery helped oversee significant portfolio transformation including significant acquisitions and divestitures in GE’s financial services and industrial portfolios.

Prior to his appointment as CEO, he led the turnaround of GE Healthcare, establishing technology leadership in core imaging, creating digital platforms and solutions, and expanding its life sciences and cell therapy systems businesses. Flannery also launched Sustainable Healthcare Solutions, bringing disruptive technologies to healthcare providers across emerging markets.

Last month GE announced plans to spin off its health-care unit and divest its stake in oil services company Baker Hughes over the next two to three years.

“We’ve changed many things, but the essence of GE endures,” Flannery said in a subsequent conference call with analysts, according to “This team had fought through the last 12 months with superhuman resolve and determination…We are motivated first and foremost by making a positive difference in the world.”

GE’s core moving forward will be its aviation, power and renewable energy businesses, he said, adding that the company’s “technology stack has never been stronger” in aviation, but results of late at the power business have been “unacceptable.” However power is a “turnaround story and we are confident in our ability to improve the future operating performance.” Indeed, these three business lines, now GE’s “center of gravity,” are collectively stronger than they would be “if innovated in isolation.”

“We are certain that with focus and a strong balance sheet GE will be a tech-driven growth story again within the coming years,” Flannery said.

Later that day in an interview with “Squawk on the Street,” the CEO

said he was very satisfied with GE’s turnaround efforts to date.

“I’m a believer,” he says. “I’m very comfortable. When we have seen issues along the way, we’ve serviced them, we’ve dealt with them and I think today is another example of that.”

Moreover, GE won’t announce any additional restructuring initiatives – “We are finished.”

He’s No. 14 on Chief Executive and RHR International’s CEO1000 Tracker, a ranking of the top 1,000 public/private companies.

John Flannery, GE

Headquarters: Boston, MA

Age: 56

Education:  Fairfield University (B.A.), Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania (M.B.A.)

First joined company: 1987

Positions prior to being named CEO: Head of Business Development

Named CEO: 2017


  • Get the CEO Briefing

    Sign up today to get weekly access to the latest issues affecting CEOs in every industry
  • upcoming events


    Strategic Planning Workshop

    1:00 - 5:00 pm

    We are in a period of rapid change. Customer needs, technologies, competitors and internal capabilities require companies to review and update their strategies for the new realities. In this workshop, strategy experts Steve Rutan and Denise Harrison will show you a systematic approach to strategic planning to help you refine or redefine your business strategy and approach including:

    • Learn what you need to know to develop an effective strategic plan. Put the right players on the strategic planning team.
    • Develop strategies that leverage your company’s unique position in the marketplace. Lift your management team beyond “business as usual” thought processes and activities.
    • Translate your strategies into action. Achieve your vision for success and generate superior financial results.
    • Identify exactly what you need to do now to position your company for future success.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    New York, NY: ​​​Chief Executive's Corporate Citizenship Awards 2017

    Women in Leadership Seminar and Peer Discussion

    2:00 - 5:00 pm

    Female leaders face the same issues all leaders do, but they often face additional challenges too. In this peer session, we will facilitate a discussion of best practices and how to overcome common barriers to help women leaders be more effective within and outside their organizations. 

    Limited space available.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $495 will be added to your total.

    Golf Outing

    10:30 - 5:00 pm
    General’s Retreat at Hermitage Golf Course
    Sponsored by UBS

    General’s Retreat, built in 1986 with architect Gary Roger Baird, has been voted the “Best Golf Course in Nashville” and is a “must play” when visiting the Nashville, Tennessee area. With the beautiful setting along the Cumberland River, golfers of all capabilities will thoroughly enjoy the golf, scenery and hospitality.

    The golf outing fee includes transportation to and from the hotel, greens/cart fees, use of practice facilities, and boxed lunch. The bus will leave the hotel at 10:30 am for a noon shotgun start and return to the hotel after the cocktail reception following the completion of the round.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $295 will be added to your total.