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Reginald Jones was Welch¶s predecessor and had built a reputation by providing GE with
stability, sound management and predictable earnings increases. However, he was looking for
someone who had the knack for bringing change in the organization and someone who could
take the company to the next level. Welch at that time was considered a renegade and a maverick
by many. He was close to the opposite of what Jones stood for.
His selection came as a surprise to many as he was not even present on the original list of
successors. However, in 1977, Welch was put in charge of consumer products and services after
GE was reorganized into six divisions. Each potential CEO candidate was given responsibility of
each division. In 1979, the list was narrowed down to three people including Welch who became
vice presidents. Finally, in December 1980, Welch was unanimously voted as CEO-elect by the
board of Directors. The selection made the staff generally uneasy as they believed Welch to be
an aggressive g...
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- Winter '11