Saw an issue of Newsweek at the grocery store yesterday, with former General Electric CEO Jack Welch on the cover. I forget the exact text, but they told you that they had an excerpt of his new biography inside.
With all that’s going on in the world, it seems an odd choice of cover story.
Until you remember that Newsweek is affiliated with MSNBC, which is partially owned by NBC, which is owned by, of course, General Electric.
Listen to this long sloppy blow job that Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker gives Welch in that issue:
“More than any other businessman alive today, Welch embodies pure energy and passion for the art of leadership. When you have a long, freewheeling conversation with Jack, as I was fortunate enough to do at a dinner not long ago, you don’t just learn about what made GE tick. You hear fascinating insights into what makes business tick, and what makes people tick…
Now Welch has poured his wealth of wisdom into a new book, “Winning,” which we’re happy to share with you in an exclusive excerpt. He outlines the eight qualities that he looks for in great leaders, as well as tips about how to hire and motivate, and straight talk on what bosses really think about balancing work and family… We hope you’ll find it a compelling read, and a valuable addition to our yearlong series on what people and priorities represent the kind of leadership we need in the 21st century.
I hate that this country thinks that CEOs should be admired or emulated or revered. Their job is to make money for their company shareholders at all costs. If putting a poisonous cobra into your mother’s bed would make money for GE, Jack Welch would do it. Well, he’d probably get an underling to tell an intern to go do it, but you get the idea.
To give us more perspective on this man among men, let’s look at this handy list of criminal violations committed by GE during only the last half of Welch’s tenure:
23 March 1990. Shepherdsville KY - GE and others ordered to cleanup PCB contamination of soil and water
27 March 1990. Wilmington NC - GE fined for discrimination against employees who report safety violations - $20,000
11 May 1990. Ft. Edward/Hudson Falls - GE ordered to clean up PCB contamination of Hudson River - $10 million
27 July 1990. Philadelphia PA - GE fined for defrauding government in defense contacts - $30 million
11 Oct 1990. Waterford NY - GE fined for pollution at Silicone Products plant - $176,000
20 May 1991. Washington, D.C. - GE Ordered to pay damages over improperly tested aircraft parts for Air Force and Navy - $1 million
27 Feb 1992. Allentown PA - GE ordered to pay damages for design flaws in nuclear plants - $80 million
4 March 1992. Orange County CA - GE fined for violating worker safety rules on handling PCBs - $11,000
13 March 1992. Wilmington NC - GE fined for safety violations at nuclear fuel plant - $20,000
22 May 1992. Illinois - GE ordered to pay damages for design flaws of nuclear plants - $65 million
22 July 1992. Washington, D.C. - GE fined for money laundering and fraud over illegal sale of fighter jets to Israel - $70 million
13 Sep 1992. Chicago IL - GE ordered to pay damages for airplane crash - $1.8 million
12 Oct 1992. Nashville TN - GE ordered to pay damages for deceptive advertising on lightbulbs - $165,000
27 Oct 1992. Washington D.C. - GE ordered to pay damages from overcharging on defense contracts - $576,215
12 May 1992. Washington D.C. - GE ordered to pay damages to whistleblower on illegal sale of fighter jets to Israel - $13.4 million
2 March 1993. Riverside CA - GE and others ordered to pay damages for contamination from dumping of industrial chemicals - $96 million
11 March 1993. Grove City PA - GE and others ordered to clean up mining site - $1.81 million
16 Sep 1993. NY - GE ordered to compensate commercial fisherman for PCB contamination of the Hudson River - $7 million
11 Oct 1993. San Francisco - GE ordered to offer rebates to consumers after deceptive light bulb advertising - $3.25 million
18 July 1993. Hudson Falls NY - GE ordered to clean up PCB contamination of Hudson R. - $2.5 million
2 Feb 1994. Perry OH - GE settles with utility companies on defective Perry Nuclear Plant.
14 Mar 1994. Ft. Edward NY - GE ordered to clean up contamination of sediment in the Hudson River - $100,000
14 Sep 1994. Washington D.C. - GE fined for overcharges in defense contracts - $20 million
2 Sep 1995. Waterford NY - GE fined for air pollution and contamination of Hudson River - $1.5 million
15 Sep 1995. Brandon FL - GE fined for groundwater contamination - $137,000
9 Sep 1996. Waterford NY - GE Fined for Clean Air Act violations - $60,000
7 Oct 1996. Hendersonville NC - GE ordered to cleanup contamination of soil and groundwater - $1.029 million
8 Oct 1996. Cook County IL - GE ordered to pay settlement from airline crash in Sioux City - $15 million
22 Feb 1997. Somersworth NH - GE and others ordered to clean up contamination of groundwater and public water supply - $ 7 million
Feb 1998. Waterford NY - GE fined for pollution violations - $234,000
20 April 1998. Waterford NY - GE fined for pollution violations - $204,000
Oct 1998. United Kingdom - GE ordered to pay for asbestos cleanup and related pollution claims - 2 billion pounds
26 Oct 1998. Puerto Rico - GE and others ordered to cleanup contamination of drinking water supply - $4.2 million
5 Nov 1998. South Whitehall PA - GE and others ordered to cleanup contamination - $1.035 million
24 Jan 1999. Chicago - GE ordered to reimburse consumers over unfair debt collection practices -$147 million
19 Aug 1999. Piscataway NJ - GE, others ordered to cleanup contaminated groundwater - $23 million
2 Sep 1999. Malvern PA - GE and others ordered to clean up groundwater contamination - $18.8 million
17 Sep 1999. Moreau NY - GE ordered to build drinking water system after PCB contamination of water supply - $5 million
9 Oct 1999. Pittsfield MA - GE ordered to clean up PCB pollution in Housatonic River - $250 million
18 Oct 2000. New York NY - GE and others ordered to clean up contamination of soil - $28 million
Jan 2001. NY - GE and others ordered to refund overcharges on mortgage insurance - $4 million
4 Feb 2001. NY - State Supreme Court rules GE deceptively misled consumers into purchasing new dishwashers after recall while sending commercial customers a replacement part.
Why mess with the poisonous cobra when you can just poison mom’s water and air?
And that list only contains what they got caught doing. It boggles the mind to think of what other atrocities they committed but got away with.
But he’s a great leader and we should learn from him. Motherfucker’s a millionaire when he should be a dead man walking.
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