Dec. 2, 2022

Power Failure: The Rise and Fall of an American Icon.

Power Failure: The Rise and Fall of an American Icon.

William D. Cohan, New York Times best selling author has written a sweeping history of General Electric and its CEO in the 1980s and 90s Jack Welch. The book has earned plaudits from The New Yorker and The Financial Times as one of the Best Books of 2022.

Heralded by the financial press as a titan CEO, Cohan shows that Welch’s tenure as CEO set GE on a glide path to mediocrity. 

Jack Welch was no Thomas Edison, a founder of GE.

Welch took General Electric on a radical path shedding businesses like TVs and air conditioners shaking up the staid corporate culture along the way. Instead he acquired RCA the parent of network NBC and investment bank Kidder Peabody.

The computer revolution eluded GE on Welch’s watch and revenues from GE Capital it’s financial services arm grew to over 40% of total GE revenue.

The corporate history of technological innovation which had made GE a household name lagged badly. Jet engines and medical imaging equipment were two exceptions.

Bill Cohan will be discussing his book on The San Francisco Experience Podcast, Tuesday December 6 th. Plan to join us for a fascinating discussion of what went wrong at GE. And he failed to position GE to be a leader in the internet revolution of the 21st century.