By Alan Murray and David Meyer
February 23, 2018

Good morning.

Lots of responses to yesterday’s post on The Wall Street Journal’s GE/Immelt takedown—much of it from former GE executives. Just in time for Feedback Friday.

One ex wonders why the company’s board hasn’t suffered more: “Should be totally cleaned out,” he writes. “Not one of them has industrial experience.” There are lots of people on that board whom I admire—among them, Francisco D’Souza, CEO of Cognizant (board member since 2013); Marjin Dekkers, former CEO of Bayer (since 2012); Susan Hockfield, former president of MIT (since 2006); Peter Henry, ex-Dean of the NYU Stern School (since 2016); and Steve Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm (since 2016.) Also, activist Nelson Peltz’s sidekick, Ed Garden, joined the board last year. Still, at some point, investors should hold this crowd responsible for the debacle.

Another ex-executive who thinks the current wave of GE bashing has gone too far had a two-word response: “Now oversold.” (The stock did move up yesterday, by exactly 13 cents. If it does that for another hundred days or so, the people who invested last May will be made whole!)

B.W. also thinks the criticism is excessive. “Through personal and through second hand accounts, I can tell you that Immelt is as tough and direct of a manager as there is.” He adds: “Name ONE Fortune 50 CEO right now who isn’t extraordinarily exuberant about the prospects of their business (publicly.) “

But B.B. thinks the criticism of Immelt rings true: “As a former officer of small publicly traded software company, I have seen way too many CEOs refuse to adhere to what I believe needs to be the very foundation for all leaders—HONESTY. Success theatre, getting the ‘pom-poms’ out and saying everything is great when it’s not is no way to improve performance.”

Enjoy the weekend. News below.

Alan Murray


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