cover image The New GE: How Jack Welch Revived an American Intitution

The New GE: How Jack Welch Revived an American Intitution

Robert Slater / Author McGraw-Hill Companies $29.95 (295p) ISB

In a laudatory business portrait of General Electric CEO Jack Welch, Time reporter Slater asserts that in 1981 Welch was one of the few people in the U.S. who recognized the challenge that inexpensive, high-quality imported goods would present to American industry. Slater recounts how Welch met it. While restructuring the company by laying off workers and eliminating management jobs, he redirected the productive thrust of GE from electrical manufacturing to high technology, eliminating or selling businesses such as housewares, developing such others as plastics, medical imaging and financial services, and seeking ``integrated diversity'' by acquiring companies, notably RCA in 1985 for $6.28 billion in cash. Single-minded, more than once named CEO of the year, Welch also instituted much-admired employee-participation and ``Quick Response'' consumer service programs. Although at the end of the 1980s, GE's $58 billion market value ranked second among U.S. companies, Welch here predicts that the global culture of the century's end will require further definition of a ``boundaryless'' company. Author tour. (Oct.)