GE chief executive Jeff Immelt is to step down after 16 years in the role.

He will be succeeded on August 1 by John Flannery (pictured), who is currently president and chief executive of GE Healthcare.

Immelt will remain chairman of the board until his retirement on December 31.

Jeff Bornstein, currently GE’s chief financial officer, has been promoted to vice-chairman of the company.  

Immelt is credited with steering the company through the financial crisis and taking it into the digital era with a strong industrial portfolio aligned to the power, aviation, transportation, healthcare and oil & gas markets.  

GE boss Immelt to step down: John Flannery to succeed

On Immelt’s watch, GE has in the last decade completed $260bn of asset sales for GE Capital, acquired French power firm Alstom and announced the combination of GE Oil & Gas with Baker Hughes.

Jack Brennan, lead independent director for GE’s board, said Immelt had “positioned the company incredibly well for the future. He executed a massive portfolio transformation and navigated the company through economic cycles and business disruptions. Today, GE is a high-tech industrial company with a bright future.”

He said Immelt “was a particularly adept steward of GE’s culture. He knows thousands of GE people all over the world and worked relentlessly to simplify the culture and unleash the GE entrepreneurial spirit.”

Immelt’s replacement John Flannery is 55 and began his career at GE Capital in 1987. In 1997, he moved to Argentina where he successfully led GE’s Equity business in Latin America and the overall GE Capital business for Argentina and Chile. 

In 2002 he became president of GE Equity and was subsequently responsible for the Asia Pacific region for GE Capital, and then India. In 2013, he was picked to lead business development at GE Corporate. He joined GE Healthcare in 2014.

Immelt said his successor “is the right person to lead GE today. He has broad experience across multiple businesses, cycles and geographies. He has a track record of success and led one of our most essential businesses. Most important are his strong leadership traits – good judgement, resilience, a learner, team builder and a tough-minded individual and competitor.  He will be trusted by investors, our customers and the GE team.”

Flannery said his appointment was “the greatest honour of my career”. He said Immelt was “one of the greatest business leaders of our time. He has transformed the GE portfolio, globalized the company and created a vision for the GE of the future by positioning the company to lead in digital and additive manufacturing.”