Even as General Electric reels, its widely-criticized former CEO Jeff Immelt is lecturing business leaders on how to succeed.
Immelt, speaking Thursday at the World Business Forum in New York, lamented the state of GE, the embattled conglomerate he led for 16 years.
“The company I was part of is in a tough cycle right now,” Immelt said. “There are things they have to fix, most importantly the business model itself.”
Even though many analysts say Immelt deserves at least some of the blame for GE’s downfall, the former boss didn’t take responsibility for the troubles of the iconic maker of light bulbs, jet engines and MRI machines.
“I still believe in the company. I own a ton of shares,” said Immelt, who left the company last year.
Those shares plummeted to nine-year lows this week. Years of bad decisions, including poorly-timed acquisitions, have caught up to GE. The company’s balance sheet is riddled with debt and its cash flow has rapidly deteriorated.
Now operating under its third CEO in less than three years, GE has slashed its dividend to a penny, cut thousands of jobs and put long-held businesses up for sale. GE’s accounting practices are also being investigated by the Justice Department and the SEC.