When Jeff Immelt retired as CEO of General Electric in 2017, his tumultuous tenure as leader of the company was legendary. Immelt reflects on his 35 years at GE and aims to tell the full story of his last 16 years he spent as CEO in his new book, “Hot Seat: What I Learned Leading a Great American Company.” Washington Post columnist David Ignatius will discuss with Immelt the challenges of leading during a crisis, globalization and China’s increasing influence, as well as the importance of innovation and perseverance.

Highlights

Former General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt says he hopes President Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion covid relief bill passes so that people can get the help they need. “I understand the people who criticize it, but I would go ahead and do it.” (Washington Post Live)
Former General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt says climate change is an existential threat that the U.S. has to take more immediate steps to address, including creating a bilateral relationship with China. “You know, China is going to have more to say about climate change over the next 30 or 40 years than the U.S. will, and we need to have some kind of dialogue with China or else anything we do here is not going to matter. It’s going to get dissipated globally. (Washington Post Live)
Former General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt says bringing manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. from overseas is “economically feasible.” "President Trump didn't invent nationalism, he Americanized it…All the technologies that have come to make supply chains different than they were 5, 10 15 years ago, I think makes this absolutely economically feasible.” (Washington Post Live)
Former General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt says he understands taking a tougher stance on China when it comes to cybersecurity and the military complexities of the Pacific, but taking the Chinese domestic market away from U.S. companies only make foreign competitors stronger. “Our allies aren’t following us. Europe is not going to stop trading with China. Japan is not going to stop trading with China. So basically, we make our European competitors better off, further ahead, and I just don’t think we have the ability to shape all of those relationships the way we should.” (Washington Post Live)

Jeff Immelt, Former CEO, General Electric

Jeff Immelt is the former ninth chairman of General Electric and served as CEO for sixteen years. Currently, he is a partner at NEA and the author of Hot Seat: What I Learned Leading a Great American Company. Immelt has been named one of the “World’s Best CEOs” three times by Barron’s. During his tenure as CEO, GE was named “America’s Most Admired Company” by Fortune magazine and one of “The World’s Most Respected Companies” in polls by Barron’s and the Financial Times. Immelt has received fifteen honorary degrees and numerous awards for business leadership and chaired the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness under the Obama administration. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a lecturer at Stanford University. Immelt earned a BA in applied mathematics from Dartmouth College and an MBA from Harvard University. He and his wife have one daughter.