If you’re looking for some inspiration to progress in your career or make it as a successful entrepreneur, then look no further than the successful life of Jack Welch. Born in Peabody, MA in the year 1935, Welch is the former chairman and CEO of General Electric—the American multinational conglomerate. Welch helped increase GE’s value by 4,000%–an incredible feat to say the least, and for this he received a severance payment of over $400 million upon retirement—the largest recorded severance payment in history. Here’s more about the incredible career and successful life of Jack Welch!
Over the course of decades or even centuries, there are only a few people that leave an impact on the world that benefits the generations to come. Jack Welch is one of them. General Electric—the American multinational conglomerate, is making life easy for people in the United States and around the world in more than one way and if there was only person to thank for it, then Jack Welch would be that person.
The choices to success are relatively simple. Even if they don’t have many options available to them, successful people don’t sit around idly. Instead, they give whatever makes the most sense to them a try. They try and if they fail, they pick themselves up and move on the next available option. Come what may, they do not stop and this isn’t a temporary resolve, rather a life choice they make. Successful people don’t get stuck in the mud and blame others for getting them there. Instead, they look for a way out rather than finding scapegoats for their situation. This is a message everyone who worked with Jack Welch—at GE or elsewhere, got loud and clear. During his career, Welch inspired many people to pursue their dreams and aspirations and the best thing is that he lived what he was telling people to do.
The Early Life and Education of Jack Welch
A chemical engineer and one of the most successful business executives in history, Jack Welch was born into poverty. Welch’s father was a Railroad conductor and he spent most of his middle and high school years working blue collar jobs including working as a drill press operator, a golf caddie, a shoe salesman, and a newspaper delivery boy.
Although, he worked multiple jobs to make ends meet, Welch was never distracted from his studies and performed well academically throughout middle and high school. His hard work paid dividend as he was accepted to the University of Massachusetts Amherst late in his senior year. In 1957, Jack Welch graduated from the university with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering. After graduation, Welch went for higher studies and in the year 1960, he graduated with a Masters and a PHD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.
The Years at General Electric
Welch’s 40-year affiliation with GE started in 1960 when he joined the company’s ‘plastics’ division as a chemical engineer. Welch’s annual salary at the time was $10,500. Over the next decade, Jack Welch continued to impress the C-suite executives—winning their respect and admiration, and this led to him being appointed as the youngest vice president in GE’s history in 1972. Seven years later, in 1979, he was promoted to the position of Vice Chairman, and in 1981, he became the eighth chairman and CEO of General Electric.
Under Welch’s leadership, GE experienced tremendous growth with the company’s value increasing by 4000% during Welch’s tenure. As chairman and CEO of the company, Welch ensured that GE turned every opportunity into business success. Jack Welch believed in decentralizing organizations and this is the reason he gave managers complete freedom to take decisions that led to faster growth and increased profits.
With Jack Welch at the helm, General Electric acquired new businesses, streamlined operations and ensured that every business under the company’s banner was among the best. The revenues of GE in 1980—the year before Jack Welch became the company’s Chairman and CEO, was just over $25 billion. In 2000—the year before Welch’s retirement from the company, General Electric’s revenue was $130 billion. Additionally, Jack Welch helped increase the company’s market value from just $14 billion to over $400 billion, making GE the largest and most valuable company in the world.
Life Post GE
Upon retirement from General Electric, Jack Welch was given severance payment of over $400 million, which is the largest severance payment in history. However, Welch did not sit at home after receiving this mammoth severance payment. Instead, he started providing consulting services to organizations and CEOs, including serving as an advisor to Barry Diller—the chief executive of IAC, and to Clayton, Dubilier & Rice—a private equity firm.In 2005, Welch co-authored a book on management, which made it to the top ranked position on the Wall Street Journal Bestseller list and appeared on the New York Bestseller list.
To pay tribute to Jack Welch, the Sacred Heart University’s College of Business was renamed to Jack Welch College of Business in 2016. Since 2006 the former GE Chairman and CEO has been teaching an MBA class to hand-picked ‘future leaders’ at the MIT Sloan School of Management. In the latter half of 2016, Welch joined a business forum established by then president-elect Donald Trump to provide policy and strategic advice on economic issues.
From the life and career of Jack Welch, one can easily decipher that he was a man on mission and someone not scared or discouraged by obstacles that came in his path. The successful life story of Jack Welch is the perfect inspiration for anyone looking to progress in their career or make it as a successful entrepreneur.
by Bobby J Davidson
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