GE CEO Jeff Immelt to Step Down After 16 Years -- 2nd Update

General Electric Co. said longtime leader Jeff Immelt will step aside as chief executive on Aug. 1, ending a 16-year run atop the conglomerate that he reshaped after the financial crisis but has struggled recently to boost profit.

GE said Monday that Mr. Immelt will be replaced by the head of the company's health care business, John Flannery. Mr. Immelt will stay on as chairman of the board through the end of his retirement from the company on Dec. 31.

Mr. Flannery, 55, is a 12-year veteran of GE.

The change comes as GE has been under pressure by activist investor Trian Fund Management to slash costs and boost profits in the company's core industrial business. Mr. Immelt recently laid out two-year cost saving target and revamped GE's executive bonus program under pressure by Trian. Some Wall Street analysts had recently openly wondered about when Mr. Immelt might retire, but the CEO gave no sign he was ready to step aside.

Mr. Immelt, who turned 61 earlier this year, has steered GE through the financial crisis and divested the bulk of the company's once-massive lending business. While the share price is little changed from when he took over in 2001, the conglomerate has refocused on its industrial businesses, shedding low-margin units like home appliances and striking a big oil-and-gas deal last fall.

GE shares, which had fallen 12% year to date, rose about 3% to $28.85 in premarket trading.

Write to Thomas Gryta at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 12, 2017 07:17 ET (11:17 GMT)