Incorporated by inventor Thomas Edison in 1892, the General Electric Company is a multinational corporation centered in Fairfield, Connecticut, although the company's main offices are located at the iconic 30 Rockefeller Plaza building in New York City. The fact that GE's headquarters are in such a famous location gives us an idea about the public image that this company has built over the last 120 years.
Today, General Electric is made up of five large business entities; Capital Finance, Consumer & Industrial, Energy Infrastructure, Technology, and Infrastructure. Together these "businesses" employ more than 300,000 employees worldwide. GE has had a place on the Dow Jones Industrial Average since its inception in 1896 and its stock is the most widely held in the world. This all goes to say that General Electric is a very well established, very large multinational company with a vast number of stakeholders. This amazing growth could not have occurred without a strong commitment to its consumers, whose investment and support allowed General Electric to absorb, sustain and grow such a variety of businesses.
The public and the government's general view of General Electric's acquisition and control of entire industries threatened to overshadow the groundbreaking innovations that the company was creating. The United States government invoked antitrust laws, and as such, the company was pressured to leave the power generation business in 1924. Fifteen years later, GE was forced release the patents to its fluorescent light bulb and sell off its interests in radio company RCA under the same monopoly accusations. General Electric's and the government later quickly made amends due to GE's specialty in nuclear and jet engine technology and the start of World War II.
Later, under CEO Jack Welch, GE became well-known for his particular management acumen and the company's surprising revenue growth. Welch was notorious for continuously pushing his company to eliminate inefficiencies and increase productivity, most famously for consistently firing the bottom 10% of his managers.
In 2001, the company changed hands and Jeffery Immelt was installed as the new CEO of General Electric. Immet believed in this new millennium, corporate social responsibility and sustainability have become not just buzzwords, but could be profit-making opportunities. Immelt continued Welch's work, trying to streamline a massive organization, while keeping profits up. He focused on corporate governance and positioned GE as a company on the forefront of research and ethical business practices. He built a corporate citizenship strategy around sustainable healthcare, energy and climate change, and community building.
In 2005, Immelt unveiled General Electric's new corporate strategy. "Ecomagination" would be the driving force behind the company for the foreseeable future. Based on sustainability and conservation concepts, GE's new direction would please its...