Jeff Immelt

Jeff Immelt
Chariman and CEO, General Electric

Headquarters: Fairfield, Connecticut
Primary Business: Diversified industrial and finance
Revenues: $147.3 billion
Employees: 287,000

Diversity and Leadership at GE

Thomas Edison believed in a simple credo. He said: “There’s a way to do it better, find it.” Today, for the company he helped found, that means working on things that matter. Renewable energy. Safer and more efficient jet engines. Health care innovations that fight cancer and save lives. GE works by literally trying to build, power, move and cure the world.

It’s no simple task, particularly when you’re operating in a global economy—an environment that’s ambiguous, volatile and filled with competitors. One thing, however, is clear. Success relies on finding and keeping the best people, the best talent. If you’re serious about innovating and making the world work better, the only discriminating factor should be excellence.

In other words, GE is committed to diversity not only because it’s the right way to do business. We think it’s the only way to do business right. As a global company, we believe our company must reflect the communities we serve and with whom we do business. We are committed to employing a diverse workforce filled with the most innovative minds in the world.

That effort actually begins in the classroom, so that upon graduation students look to GE as their employer of choice. Our Greek Elite program is a great example. Senior GE leaders partner with black Greek letter organizations to mentor and develop students.

We also believe that you can never stop developing leaders. We constantly encourage mentoring among executive level employees, applying a special focus to diverse talent and women employees and mobilizing our affinity networks and employee groups. These networks and groups are specifically dedicated to develop and promote talent within GE and provide employees a sense of belonging and support.

I take special pride in our affinity networks and employee groups because the collective talents, differences and experiences of GE employees are the essential ingredients in our ability to grow and succeed. Our ongoing commitment to hiring the best and retaining a diverse workforce provides a competitive advantage in the markets we serve. Simply put, diversity makes us a better company.

Education: BA, Dartmouth College; MBA, Harvard University
First Job: During the summer in college, I worked at the Ford Motor plant in Cincinnati in the parts depot and on the assembly line. Out of college my first job was at P&G as a brand manager.
What I’m Reading:Fixing the Game, by Roger Martin
My Philosophy: Always ask what’s next.
Best Advice:Make your work about more than your own success.
Family: Wife and one daughter
Interests: Sports and reading
Favorite Charity: Robin Hood Foundation