Jack Welch, former GE CEO, dead at 84: See tributes live

Jack Welch, the legendary CEO of General Electric, died on Sunday

Jack Welch, the former legendary CEO of General Electric who led the company through two decades of growth, died Sunday at the age of 84.

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Welch became one of the nation's most well-known and highly regarded corporate leaders during his two decades as GE's chairman and chief executive, from 1981 to 2001. He personified the so-called “cult of the CEO” during the late-1990s boom, when GE's soaring stock price made it the most valuable company in the world.

A chemical engineer by training, Welch transformed the company from a maker of appliances and light bulbs into an industrial and financial services powerhouse. During his tenure, GE's revenue grew nearly fivefold, and the firm's market capitalization increased 30-fold.

Welch's results-driven management approach and hands-on style were credited with helping GE turn a financial corner, although some of the success came at the expense of thousands of employees who lost their jobs in Welch's relentless efforts to cut costs and rid GE of unprofitable businesses.

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The Associated Press contributed to this story