General Electric will leave the Dow Jones Industrial Average after 122 years and will be replaced by Walgreens. A move that has left former GE executive Bob Nardelli reeling.
“For those of us that have spent 30-plus years there, it was heartbreaking, really, and devastating to see that an industrial iconic company like that. And yet, insult to injury, we were replaced by a drugstore. I mean, Oh my God,” he said during an interview on FOX Business’ ‘Mornings With Maria”.
Back in 2000, Nardelli was in the running to replace legendary GE CEO Jack Welch, but was passed over in favor of Jeff Immelt. Last June, Immelt was forced out after years of the company underperforming its peers and was replaced by John Flannery.
Today, Flannery is struggling to turn around the industrial giant. Shares have lost over 53% during the past 12 months as Flannery attempts ongoing cost-cutting measures. Among those, he slashed GE’s quarterly dividend in half last November and some Wall Street analysts are speculating another cut could be in the cards.
While GE’s struggles impacted the decision by the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, there were other factors at work. Committee chair David Blitzer also said that the economy has changed since the Dow was first institutionalized — health care, technology, finance and consumer companies have been, and will continue to be, more prominent than industrial companies.
“When it was the Dow Industrial Average — I think it’s now just the Dow Average” Nardelli quipped.
The switch will take place on June 26, 2018.