Global Economy Prize Laureate 2015

Jeffrey Robert Immelt

Jeffrey Robert Immelt, born on 19 February 1955 in Cincinatti, Ohio (USA), is an American business executive and for 14 years now he serves on the board of General Electric (GE). He reoriented GE towards industrial facilities, its core business. This proved to be critical, as ventures into financial markets had driven the company near bankruptcy once the financial market crises erupted. He managed to close a spectacular deal with the French government on overtaking the energy branch of French-based energy-and-transport giant Alstom, and snapped this gem up from right under Siemen’s nose, GEs biggest rival at that time. Recently, Immelt strongly promoted both in-house development of software for industrial facilities and a stronger internationalization by choosing production sites close to sales markets and by hiring technical and executive staff locally.

After finishing High School, Immelt studied at Dartmouth College where in 1978 he graduated as Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics. Subsequently, he went to Harvard to receive his MBA in 1982. The same year he started his career at the General Electric Corporate Group. A short stint in corporate marketing was followed by various executive positions in distribution, marketing and global product management at GE Plastics.

In 1989 Immelt had been appointed Vice President of Consumer Services at GE Appliances; in 1991 he became Vice President of Worldwide Marketing and Product Management. In 1992 he switched from Vice President and General Manager of the Commercial Division to GE Plastics North, Central and South America. The following year he was appointed Vice President and General Manager of the entire GE Plastics North, Central and South America.

In 1997 Jeffrey Robert Immelt became president and vice chairman of GE Medical Systems which then made annual sales of 8 billion US Dollar. Under his leadership the company managed to dominate the global market. On 7 September 2001, Immelt was appointed the ninth chairman in the 124 years history of General Electric. From November 2000 until his appointment to follow John F. Welch had been finalized, Immelt served as president and chairman designate of General Electric.

Three times financial magazine Barron’s had chosen Immelt as one of the best CEOs globally. In 2011 US president Obama appointed him as chairman of the advisory body for jobs and competitiveness. He and his wife have one daughter.