The Real Winner of GE's CEO Bake-Off

Issue 05-06-13   |   Reviewer:   James Richardson, Ph.D.


As CEO of Honeywell, Dave Cote has led the company to greater revenue and higher profit margins, resulting in a doubling of the company's stock price since he took over in 2002. Cote was in the running for the CEO position at GE to replace Jack Welch, but was passed over for Jeff Immelt. Two other candidates for the GE CEO position also went on to lead other companies; Robert Nardelli became CEO at Home Depot and Jim McNerney took over at Boeing.

Under Cote, Honeywell has outperformed all of them. Cote has streamlined Honeywell from a random collection of companies into a tightly knit conglomerate that has come up with innovative products in aeronautics, chemical engineering, and energy. People laughed at Cote’s goals to increase revenue and profits at Honeywell, as the company was such a mess. Now some wonder whether Welch wishes he hadn’t passed over Cote at GE.

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