Case | HBS Case Collection | April 1999 (Revised May 2005)

GE's Two-Decade Transformation: Jack Welch's Leadership

by Christopher A. Bartlett and Meg Wozny


GE is faced with Jack Welch's impending retirement and whether anyone can sustain the blistering pace of change and growth characteristic of the Welch era. After briefly describing GE's heritage and Welch's transformation of the company's business portfolio of the 1980s, the case chronicles Welch's revitalization initiatives through the late 1980s and 1990s. It focuses on six of Welch's major change programs: The "Software" Initiatives, Globalization, Redefining Leadership, Stretch Objectives, Service Business Development, and Six Sigma Quality.

Keywords: Transformation; Global Strategy; Leadership Development; Goals and Objectives; Six Sigma; Management Succession; Service Operations; Quality; Corporate Strategy;


Bartlett, Christopher A., and Meg Wozny. "GE's Two-Decade Transformation: Jack Welch's Leadership." Harvard Business School Case 399-150, April 1999. (Revised May 2005.)