Jeffrey Immelt announcing that he would be retiring as CEO of GE caught a lot of analysts by surprise. He has been extremely busy over his 15-plus years at GE, leading acquisitions of tons of companies and divestitures of sizable portions of the company. The company announced other moves over the course of the week, including Russell Stokes taking over as CEO of GE Power.
Stokes moves over to GE Power after running GE Energy Connections, and GE Transportation before that. He will be combining business GE Energy Connections and GE Power, creating GE’s largest business.
Prediction – I think Stokes becoming CEO of GE Power is part of the company’s succession planning for the next 20 years. Immelt’s replacement Jeffrey Flannery is 55 and has already been at the company 30 years. There’s no way he remains at the CEO spot more than 10 years, in which time Stokes will be 55 and primed for the top spot at GE.
So what? – There are no black women running any Fortune 500 companies and five or six men, several of whom most likely won’t be CEO over the next 10 years. To have a black man positioned to run one of the 30 largest companies in the world is massive.