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Struggling GE removes CEO John Flannery, warns on 2018 earnings

The ouster of a 30-year GE veteran comes barely a year after he took over in a bid to rescue the company

AFP/PTI  |  New York 

John Flannery
John Flannery. File Photo: Reuters

Embattled US engineering giant on Monday removed its CEO and warned it would fall short of its 2018 earnings guidance as the conglomerate's cash flow struggles continue.

The ouster of John Flannery, a 30-year GE veteran, comes barely a year after he took over in a bid to rescue the company, long a pillar of that has seen its shares tailspin 35 per cent since the start of the year.

The company was stricken from the prestigious Industrial Average in June.

H Lawrence Culp, named to the GE board in April, will replace Flannery immediately, the firm said in a statement, following a unanimous decision of the board.

The company said because of weaker performance in the GE Power business, GE would fall short of previous profit guidance for this year.

GE will also book a $23 billion non-cash charge related to its power business. Executives are due to brief investors on the charge when GE reports third-quarter results later this month.

The once mighty conglomerate, long a standard-bearer of US industrial preeminence, is still working to right the ship following the global financial crisis of a decade ago, which blew a hole in GE's once-massive lending business.

Shares of GE last week hit a nine-year low, after of a glitch in new power-plant turbine technology that temporarily shut two electricity plants in - adding to woes in the company's industrial segments.

A year into Flannery's tenure, investors were reportedly concerned he was not working fast enough to restructure the company.

Last week, shares in the company fell seven per cent, pushing GE's market capitalization below $100 billion and causing Wall Street analysts to cut their price targets.

As the problems in occurred, Flannery held an emergency meeting last week, calling on staff to "fight for the company," according to The Wall Street Journal.

"GE remains a fundamentally strong company with great businesses and tremendous talent. It is a privilege to be asked to lead this iconic company," Culp said in the statement.

"We remain committed to strengthening the balance sheet including de-leveraging." In addition to adding Culp to the board, GE also appointed Thomas Horton, the former chief executive of and AT&T, as lead director - citing his experience with corporate restructuring in the merger of American and

The company's stock was up more than 15 per cent in pre-market trading in New York shortly before 1300 GMT.

First Published: Mon, October 01 2018. 18:50 IST
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