Examining the Culture and Strategy of GE Capital

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From turbines to TV, from household appliances to power plants, GE is plugged into businesses that have shaped the modern world. The company produces aircraft engines, locomotives and other transportation equipment, kitchen and laundry appliances, lighting, electric distribution and other control equipment, generators and turbines and medical imaging equipment. GE is also one of the US's pre-eminent financial services providers. GE Capital, comprising commercial finance, commercial aircraft leasing, real estate, and energy financial services, is its largest segment. GE's other segments are Energy, Technology Infrastructure, and GE Home & Business Solutions.

GE has always been a multi-business company and over the past 125 years, GE has quickly evolved to seize new prospects created by changes in technology and the economy. Today GE is constructing a new platform in industries and markets with above-GDP growth that provide opportunity to apply GE technology and management expertise to accelerate that growth. GE is built on a foundation of reliable products and unmatched expertise. Their innovative solutions prepare their customers for a cleaner, smarter, more efficient energy technology future.


Throughout time GE has had many personas in the CEO position which led to today's General Electric CEO, John Krenicki, Jr. he has served as chief executive officer and president of GE Company since July 2005. He first was introduced to the company while contributing in the technical marketing program which later led to leadership roles within GE divisions. As time grew on he became the vice president of the Americas for Lighting division and for the Super abrasive unit as well. He was also named the chief executive officer for the transportations division of GE. In 2003 Krenicki was named senior vice president of General Electric and held that title for one year. Following this accomplishment was his biggest one of all, he was named president and chief executive officer of the overall company of General Electric.


GE Energy's mission is "to provide cleaner, smarter, and more efficient energy solutions that help our customers and communities to create jobs, grow their economies and improve living standards."   


GE takes pride in their culture and they believes defines who they are as a company. The company's culture is considered to be amongst their innovations. Over the years the many leaders have had their own input on what General Electric is today. They consider the company a place constructing ideas and bringing them to life. They use this culture as the unifying force for the many units they have around the world.


The history of General Electric Company is a major part of the history of technology in the United States. General Electric (GE) has evolved from Thomas Edison's home laboratory into one of the leading companies in the world. Following this was the development of electrical technology into the high-tech components of the early 21st century. The astounding size of General Electric was ranked fifth in the Fortune 500 in 2003. GE operates in more than 100 countries around the world and produces approximately 45 percent of its revenues outside the United States. Over the course of its period of originality, General Electric has combined more than 67,500 patents, and the firm's scientists have been awarded two Nobel Prizes and a countless number of other honors. GE history contains five major brackets that developed throughout its time. The brackets consist of the late 19th century: The Edison Era, early 20th century: electrification operations and beyond, post war growth and difficulties, the Jack-Welch era which was between the years of 1981-2001, the Immelt Era took place during 2001 and beyond.

Late 19th Century: The Edison Era

Thomas Edison became known in the 1870's as an forthcoming inventor at the age of 23. He began exploring electrical light as a substitute for the standard gas light that was used for the main source of lighting. In 1878 Edison opened up his own company called Edison Electric Light Company. After many long hours of development Edison was able to set up his production line of light bulbs. By 1889, Edison had merged all of his different businesses under the name of Edison General Electric Company. Three years prior, this company was united with the Thomson-Houston Electric Company to form the General Electric Company. This merger became the turning point in the electrification of the United States. One year after the structure of General Electric, the company won a proposal for the production of AC motors in a textile mill in South Carolina. The motors were the largest man-made product by the company at the time and were so victorious that orders soon began to flow in from other industries.

Early 20th Century: Electrical Operations

By the beginning of the 20th century GE was responsible for building all components dealing with electricity for the United States. During this era the company established its first working laboratory within the United States. Once operations took off GE was awarded numerous patents and have received the most out of any other company ever since. During the early decades of the 20th century General Electric made additional advancement in its recognized fields and also made its first major diversification. In 1903 General Electric purchased the Stanley Electric Manufacturing Company of Pittsfield, Massachusetts. By this time GE's first light bulbs were in apparent need of enhancement. In the early days, electricity was used only when daylight departed for the day, because electric lighting was not needed during the day. GE, as the producer of both electricity generating material and electricity consuming devices, naturally sought to expand both ends of its markets. The first core expansion of the General Electric product line was made in the first decade of the 20th century. The line consisted of toaster, griddles, pans, coffee makers and other house hold appliances. In the following years, the first Nobel Prize was awarded to a scientist who went to Irving Langmuir for his work at GE on surface chemistry. Within the next few years, GE labs had a steady stream of originality in electronics.

Post War Growth and difficulties

When the manufacture of consumer goods began again immediately after the war, GE quickly found itself in another antitrust encounter. After some research was done by the government, they came across GE's operation put out; 85 percent of the light bulb industry, 55 percent through its own productivity and the other 30 percent through contracted companies. In 1949 the court forced GE to release its patents to others. Considering their slight downfall, GE continued to research other products and from this came the company's overall configuration of separating them from others. One of the scientists had unveiled a way to produce silicon in large quantities. This was something that the company had been questioning for a long period of time. Following this discovery, GE opened a plant that produced nothing but the silicon, which was used for a sealant or lubricant for many of their products.

General Electric's studies were at a constant growth when they embarked on the study of nuclear power. From this the company was in the process of helping the naval force launch a submarine. In 1955 the world's first nuclear powered vessel was launched. Even though the project was successfully accomplishes the nuclear field was suffering tremendously. Construction cost was at a high and concerns for the environment were at a rapid growth. All this commotion caused the nuclear division to lose money. The company eventually pulled out of the division for the most part. They still provided services and fuel to the existing plants. Throughout time GE's growth was significant and they were able to triple their earnings within one decade. The company itself had become so large that some regarded it fortunes as capable only of following the fortunes of the country as a whole.

1981-2001: Jack-Welch Era

During this period of time the company was facing changes within their managerial positions which caused minor problems inside the company itself; Jack Welch, Jr. was named the new CEO of General Electric. Over the next several years, the company purchased 338 businesses and product lines for $11.1 billion and sold 232 for $5.9 billion. The first task Welch wanted to endure was to return the control of the company to the periphery. By doing this he wanted GE to become one or two in every field of operation. Throughout Welch's time he made many purchases and sold off different divisions that left the company with three main business groups, these groups consisted of technology, services, and manufacturing. The core of the company was the manufacturing division which was then followed by technology and then service. During this change the world was suffering from an economic downfall and many thought GE's new changes would not last. Never the less the company was able to keep the three new divisions stable at a high gross.

Within the next few years GE hit their milestone of 100 years of production and remained as the only company on the original Dow Jones Index list. Later in life Welch adopted the six sigma curriculum. With this he wanted to cut costs by reducing errors of defects. In 1998 the company was yielding $1 billion in annual savings in results of the adoption plan. The company continued to restructure what was needed to help its growth within the future. Soon after Welch retired which left Immelt as the new CEO of General Electric.

The Immelt Era

During the time GE made their second largest deal in history with Heller Financial Inc. General Electric's capital unit agreed to pay the finance company $5.3 billion. Trailing this big deal was the launch of GE's new line of light bulbs which provided cleaner and brighter light because the bulbs were filled with yellow rays. This became the largest product launch in history. Even though the company was experiencing greatness they were beginning to feel the effects of the economic downfall. Revenues were falling dramatically and instead of going down GE decided to take advantage of the situation. This was done by buying off assets from distressed sellers which caused GE to grow and overcome their downfall.

As Immelt continued his transformations with the company, he restructured 13 business units to 11 which would focus on specific markets and customers. This change was able to bring companies together which helped cut cost and increase sales. Overall, Immelt was looking to cut the cost for the company and have fewer financial providers and build operations in fast passed economies as well. All this was accomplished throughout his time and it tremendously helped GE get to the position they are at today.