Jack Welch, a railroad conductor’s son who became chairman and CEO of General Electric and led it for two decades, growing its market value from $12 billion to $410 billion, has died. He was 84.
Welch died late Sunday at home, surrounded by his wife, Suzy, and family, and his beloved dogs nearby. The cause of death was renal failure, his wife said Monday.
President Donald Trump tweeted his condolences, saying “there was no corporate leader like ‘neutron’ Jack.”
With a determination to win by busting up bureaucratic complacency, Welch earned two titles — “manager of the century,” and “Neutron Jack,” the latter for slashing tens of thousands of jobs. Welch had said he hated the nickname. Under his leadership, GE became the world’s most valuable company, after Microsoft. Its fortunes later turned south.
Welch joined GE in 1960 as a chemical engineer in its plastics division in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. He became a vice president in 1972 and vice chairman seven years later. In April 1981, at age 45, he succeeded Reginald H. Jones as chairman and chief executive officer.