Founder of Jack Welch Management Institute and with a net worth of $720 million, Jack Welch was the youngest CEO of General Electric. Being a retired American business executive, author and chemical engineer, he has been the unstoppable force and has helped GE’s revenues grow five-fold from $25 billion to $130 billion, income grow ten-fold from $1.5 billion to $15 billion, and the company’s market capitalisation had a 30-fold increase of more than $400 billion.
This leader extraordinaire was born to Grace Andrews and John Francis Welch Sr, in Peabody, Massachusetts, on November 19, 1935. Despite his humble beginning, he obtained a doctorate degree in Chemical Engineering. Dissatisfied with his job as a junior chemical engineer in General Electric, he decided to quit but was persuaded to stay by a GE executive and thereafter, there was no looking back. Gradually, he became the Vice President of three different departments of GE and set a record in the company by becoming the youngest Chairman and CEO in 1982.
The ‘rank and yank’ policies, which are now popular among other corporates, were also promoted by him. He would give surprise visits to GE’s plants and would reward the top 20% managers annually. He also made stock options available to nearly one-third of his employees. He is further renowned for dissolving the concept of a nine-layer management hierarchy and believed that it is important to ‘remove the barriers between traditional functions and find great ideas, anywhere within the organisation or from outside the organisation, and share them with everyone in the company’.
At GE, he was famous for nurturing leaders. It is said that more than 35 CEOs of today’s top companies were trained under Welch. With such a knack for honing great leadership, it is no wonder that the born leader is actively involved with the Jack Welch Management Institute (JWMI), to this day, that he founded in 2010. This online program was recently named as the No 1 most influential educational brand on LinkedIn. At JWMI, he is known for answering individual emails to students and give video responses to messages. According to him, “Trust happens when leaders are transparent, candid and keep their word.”
Welch is among the most respected and celebrated CEOs, who has set an example with his unmatched track record of success, using his unique management practices, which are now popularly known as ‘The Welch Way’. He has also published a book called ‘Winning’ in 2005, which was named as a bestseller on The Wall Street Journal. He continues to inspire budding entrepreneurs globally, with his innovative leadership principles and traits.