Jack Welch: One of America’s Greatest CEOs


Jack Welch — world-renowned businessman, chemical engineer, author and management expert — is widely regarded as one of the most respected and greatest CEOs in America today. During his more than 40 years at General Electric, he rose quickly through the ranks to become the company’s youngest vice president and later its youngest CEO and chairman. Throughout his tenure at GE, he gained a reputation as one of the toughest bosses for his blunt and hard-hitting management tactics. But, it was his visionary leadership style that allowed him to steer the company into international markets at a scale never seen before. On June 28, 2011, Welch will serve as keynote speaker at the Manufacturer & Business Association’s 106th Annual Event in Erie to speak frankly and candidly about his experiences as the head of one of the most valuable and powerful companies in the world.

Warren Buffett. Bill Gates. Steve Jobs. Jack Welch. Each has been hailed as one of greatest business minds and innovators in a generation. Warren Buffett for his investment strategies. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs for their innovative technology. And, Jack Welch, of course, for his transformational management style.

But what makes a great leader truly great?

According to Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric, in an interview in the Harvard Business Review, “Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.

Above all else, though, good leaders are open. They go up, down, and around their organization to reach people. They don’t stick to the established channels. They’re informal. They’re straight with people. They make a religion out of being accessible. They never get bored telling their story.”

Welch’s story, for one, is compelling to nearly every entrepreneur, executive or anyone interested in climbing the corporate ladder. Here is a man who led GE to record growth, profitability and market capitalization from 1981 to 2001 — and who did it strategically and succinctly. He communicated his vision effectively, by focusing on streamlining operations, acquiring new businesses, and seizing the opportunity to make every business under GE the best in its industry.

“Leadership is about results, not experience, not education, or any of the other things that everyone claims is leadership,” Welch has said. “It’s about being able to consistently deliver results, being able to recover from falling off that horse, and getting right back on …”

Read more about Jack Welch in the 2011 Annual Report