Jack Welch

An acclaimed business leader and the chairman and CEO of General Electric for two decades

Who is Jack Welch?

Well-known for his role as chairman and CEO of General Electric for close to twenty (20) years, John Francis Welch, Jr., was born on November 19, 1935. He is popularly known as Jack Welch. Welch was a qualified chemical engineer.

General Electric increased its market share under the leadership of Welch, and his policies became widely adapted and used in the business industry. He also wrote several international bestsellers.

 

Jack Welch

 

Jack Welch was considered one of the greatest business leaders during his tenure at General Electric. He passed away in March 2020.

 

Summary

  • Well-known for his role as the chairman and CEO of General Electric for close to twenty (20) years, John Francis Welch, Jr., was born on November 19, 1935. He is popularly known as Jack Welch.
  • Jack Welch was considered one of the greatest business leaders during his tenure at General Electric.
  • In 1999, Jack Welch was named “Manager of the Century,” and in 2005, his book “Winning,” co-written with Suzy Welch, became a No. 1 on The Wall Street Journal bestseller list.

 

Jack Welch’s Early Life

Jack Welch was born in Peabody, Massachusetts (U.S.) on November 19, 2020. His father, John Welch Senior, was a railroad conductor for Boston & Maine. Grace Welch, his mother, was a housewife and managed the home. Jack Welch was an only child. Welch was interested in business from a young age and worked as a newspaper delivery boy. He also worked as a golf caddy and a shoe salesman while he was still in school.

Jack Welch attended Salem High School. He was an athlete who played football, hockey, and baseball. For tertiary education, Welch attended the University of Massachusetts, from where he graduated in 1957 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering. In 1960, he earned his Master’s degree and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois.

 

Jack Welch’s Career

After graduating in 1960, Jack Welch was employed at General Electric as a junior chemical engineer in the company’s Plastic Division. After working for a year, Welch initially planned to quit, but Reuben Gutoff, a GE executive, convinced Jack to stay. In 1968, Welch was promoted to vice president for the entire Plastic Division. The division thrived under his leadership, and Mr. Welch supervised the marketing and production of Lexan and Noryl.

Jack Welch became the vice president of GE’s Metallurgical and Chemical divisions in 1971. Throughout the 1970s, Welch worked diligently and consistently from promotion to promotion. In 1973, he was promoted to Head of Strategic Planning for General Electric. He held the position for six years and managed a $2 billion portfolio of enterprises. In 1977, Jack Welch was promoted to vice president of the Consumer Products and Services Division and was appointed vice-chairman in 1979.

In 1980, it was made public that Jack Welch would take over the role of chief executive officer after Reginald H. Jones. He officially took over the reins from Jones in 1981. Welch worked as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for General Electric for twenty (20) years (1981 to 2001) until he retired. During his time at GE, the company’s market value increased from $14 billion to $410 billion.

 

Life after General Electric

After retiring from General Electric, Jack Welch became an adviser for Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (a private equity firm), and Barry Diller (chief executive of IAC). He also co-wrote a column for BusinessWeek for four years, alongside his wife, Suzy Welch. In 2005, they (Jack and Suzy) published a book about management. The publication went on to become No. 1 on The Wall Street Journal bestseller list, and it was also featured on the New York Times Best Sellers list.

In 2006, Jack Welch gave his name to the “Sacred Heart University’s College of Business,” which began using the name “Jack Welch College of Business” in 2016. Welch taught a class at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and in 2016, he joined a forum assembled by the U.S. President Donald Trump. The forum was aimed at providing policy and strategic advice centered around economic issues and challenges.

 

Achievements and Awards

In 1999, Jack Welch was named “Manager of the Century,” and in 2005, his book “Winning,” co-written by Suzy Welch, became No. 1 on The Wall Street Journal bestseller list.

 

Learn More

CFI offers the Capital Markets & Securities Analyst (CMSA)™ certification program for those looking to take their careers to the next level. To keep learning and advancing your career, the following resources will be helpful:

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