On September 6, 2001, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of General Electric Corporation, John Francis Welch Jr. retired after devoting 41 years to GE. With his innovative breakthrough leadership style as CEO, Welch transformed GE into a highly productive and efficient company. During his tenure as CEO, Welch made GE one of the most profitable companies in the world. Although some people viewed him as a ruthless CEO responsible for putting profits above human and community concerns, he is still one of the most respected business leaders with a global vision.
Welch was praised as the model corporate executive for producing higher profits year after year. He was credited by his corporate admirers with almost single-handedly turning GE from a manufacturing company valued at $15 billion when he took over to an industrial conglomerate valued at $480 billion when he retired. However, Welch’s ruthless business methods earned him the nickname “Neutron Jack” among GE workers due to the substantial job cuts he carried out soon after taking over. By doing so, Welch practically eliminated the old traditional guarantee of mutual loyalty and trust that used to exist between employees and GE. Corporate loyalty was once the prevailing attitude in GE, in fact, Welch considered the idea was obsolete. When Welch decided to precede chaotic changes in the workforce, as Business Week concluded, “the old social contract between employer and employees was nullified.” (Byrne) In order to increase the value of the corporation, Welch had ignored GE‘s social contract with the society by laying off employees.
Furthermore, Jack Welch waged a fierce fight against the dredging during his tenure as CEO. At the center of the conflict was whether the GE could be forced to clean up the Hudson River, which had became the nation’s biggest toxic site on the Superfund list of the EPA. The company’s the river plants along flooded the waterway with more than 1 million pounds of PCB,...