Business Leaders 101

Jack Welch - Neutron Jack or Manager of the Century
Born on 19th November, 1935, as the only child of an Irish working-class family in Salem, Massachusetts. Welch graduated from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 1957 with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. He later obtained master’s and doctoral degrees in chemical engineering from the University of Illinois, finishing in 1960. Welch joined General Electric (GE) that year as a junior engineer in Pittsfield, Mass. He rose through the ranks, and built GE's plastics business into one of the company's fastest growing business units. He became a senior vice president in 1977, and vice chairman in 1979. At the age of 45, Jack Welch became the company's youngest chairman and CEO in the year 1981.

Welch transformed the culture of GE and drove out bureaucracy to replace it with performance-driven meritocracy. He was seen as ruthless when he enforced sweeping payroll cuts; he also divested GE of billions of dollars in businesses that didn’t live up to his mantra that they be No.1 or No.2 in their markets. His management style rattled the conventional, the status quo of large corporations like GE. His obsessive pursuit of enhancing shareholder value portrayed him as symbol of corporate greed and economic inequity. But nobody can deny what GE achieved under his leadership – the company’s revenue jumped nearly fivefold during his tenure, market value of GE soared from $14 billion to more than $410 billion. One of Welch’s greatest accomplishments is the talent that GE created by placing a premium of developing leaders.

Some of the valuable life lessons or management mantras that Jack Welch practices & preached:
• Lead a company, don’t over-manage it
• Bureaucrats must be ridiculed, removed
• Build leadership through the ranks
• Embrace change, don’t be afraid of it
• Control your destiny, or someone else will
• Reinvent before it becomes essential
• Have courage to make it unpopular decisions