Cover image for Welch : an American icon
Welch : an American icon
Lowe, Janet.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Wiley, 2001.
Physical Description:
304 pages ; 24 cm
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HD9697.A3 U588 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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A rare perspective on the personal philosophy, business savvy, and future of the chairman of the most admired company in the world
Jack Welch, chairman of General Electric, is due to retire this spring. Welch has transported GE into the new economy with his management style, his forward-thinking approach to new technology, and by encouraging creativity among his employees. This book provides a look at what the innovative powerhouse executive has brought to American business and what will ultimately be his legacy. Thorough, authoritative, and absorbing, Welch: An American Icon includes interviews with CEOs at other leading companies who have worked under Welch and been trained by him, as well as interviews with other GE executives.
Janet Lowe (Del Mar, CA) is an investment writer and author who has written sixteen business and biographical works, including the recent Damn Right!: Behind the Scenes with Berkshire-Hathaway Billionaire Charlie Munger (0-471-24473-2). Ms. Lowe is past editor of the San Diego Daily Transcript and Financial Editor of the San Diego Tribune. More than 200 of her business articles have appeared in such publications as Newsweek, the Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Author Notes

Janet Lowe is the bestselling author of several business books. Formerly the financial editor of the San Diego Tribune, she has written more than 200 business articles for such publications as Newsweek, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Los Angeles Times

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

In 1999 Fortune declared Jack Welch the "Manager of the Century." Business Week ranked Welch, along with GM's Alfred Sloan, as "one of the twentieth-century's greatest corporate leaders." Welch has run General Electric for the past 20 years and is credited with adding $500 billion to GE's shareholder value and transforming the company from a stodgy, old-fashioned conglomerate into a sleek, high-tech global powerhouse. There are now at least a half dozen books analyzing or chronicling Welch's reign at GE. His own much anticipated account, for which he was paid a record advance of $7.1 million, is due to be released to coincide with his impending retirement. In the meantime, Lowe's version--which relies heavily on secondary sources--will serve as the most recent, most objective summing up of Welch's career. Lowe is the author of 16 books, half of which are compilations of quotes taken from her celebrity subjects' speeches, articles, essays, newscasts, and interviews. In fact, Lowe has already so profiled Welch; other of these "biographies" cover Bill Gates, Ted Turner, Oprah Winfrey, and Michael Jordan. --David Rouse

Publisher's Weekly Review

When business writer Lowe (Damn Right!, etc.) approached GE Chairman Jack Welch about a book (Jack Welch Speaks, her first book on him), "[h]e said he did not see any purpose in. . . yet another book." Lowe's respectable, ultimately redundant book portrays Welch as a captain of industry who commands the kind of attention that top executives crave and almost never get. The near-mythical story of GE's wrenching turnaround earns Welch abundant positive and negative buzz. Unlike many of Welch's contemporaries, he has stayed with the same company for the long run (since 1960), becoming chairman in 1981 and immediately restructuring the massive conglomerate, earning the moniker "Neutron Jack" because of his huge layoffs along the way. Through a combination of radical structural changes, a near-fanatical devotion to the Six Sigma management system and an acquisition blitzkrieg, GE leapt into the 21st century, taking no prisoners. Critics noted that under his stewardship, deep workforce reductions accompanied Welch's own ballooning salary and a tendency to treat workers and their hometowns as dispensable (Welch has said, "Ideally, you'd have every plant you own on a barge, to move with currencies and changes in the economy"). Lowe promises a balanced look at Welch that pulls no punches; for the most part, she delivers. But the book's distracting, episodic style (a lot of the material was left over from the first book) makes it seem little more than an attempt to capitalize on curiousity about Welch prior to the publication of his much-touted upcoming book. Several abundant appendices are informative but do little to explain Welch's icon status. (May 4) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Jack Welch made headlines last summer when he secured a $7.1 million advance for his memoir-cum-how-to. This is not that book, but it will do until the General Electric CEO, one of the most admired businessmen of the past 20 years, releases the aforementioned work later this year. Lowe's second book on Welch (and one of 16 she has authored on investing and major business figures), this respectful but not uncritical overview of his life at GE focuses on globalization, management skills, and companies acquired and dumped. Lowe also presents dissenting views of Welch's management style and accomplishments throughout the book, which is heavily based on interpretations of Welch by academic and business writers as well as his own statements. The journalistic writing style makes this a fast and easy read, yet it is supported by 18 pages of footnotes from secondary sources like the Wall Street Journal. Wiley is trying to get the jump on Welch's sure-to-be-mega-hyped book, set to be published by Warner. Public and academic libraries that want a succinct, readable, and affordable survey of Welch's life should purchase. Patrick J. Brunet, Western Wisconsin Tech Coll., La Crosse (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

In her second book on Jack Welch (see also Jack Welch Speaks, 1998), financial writer Lowe chronicles his 40 years of service to the General Electric Company. The book presents a straightforward historical perspective of Welch's impact on the company's past and future, from his beginning as a chemical engineer in the company's plastics division to his tenure as the organization's CEO. The 11 easy to read chapters are divided into three sections: "The Jack Welch Legacy," "General Electric: Then and Now," and "The Future." Chapters are well researched and provide significant insight into Welch's life and management philosophy. Five appendixes, "General Electric and Jack Welch: The Chronology," "GE Values," "The CERES Principles," "General Electric Businesses," and "General Electric--Nineteen-Year Performance Figures: 1980-1999," and an extensive bibliography complete the book. This volume will interest a wide range of readers interested in the high-profile career of Welch or the evolution of a major corporation. Public, academic, and professional collections. S. R. Kahn University of Cincinnati

Table of Contents

Prefacep. 7
Acknowledgmentsp. 11
Part I The Jack Welch Legacyp. 13
Chapter 1 The House of Magic: How Welch Became an American Iconp. 27
Chapter 2 The Gospel of Good Managementp. 49
Part II General Electric Then and Nowp. 69
Chapter 3 The Companies General Electric Dumpedp. 81
Chapter 4 The Companies General Electric Acquiredp. 93
Chapter 5 Building from Withinp. 113
Chapter 6 The Globalization of General Electricp. 129
Chapter 7 Wired Welchp. 147
Chapter 8 The Dark Side of the Legacyp. 167
Part III The Futurep. 189
Chapter 9 The Meta-Corporation: General Electric after Welchp. 201
Chapter 10 Welch after General Electricp. 223
Chapter 11 Welch's Place in Historyp. 235
Appendixesp. 245
Appendix a General Electric and Jack Welch: The Chronologyp. 247
Appendix b GE Valuesp. 255
Appendix c The CERES Principlesp. 257
Appendix d General Electric Businessesp. 261
Appendix e General Electric--Nineteen-Year Performance Figures: 1980-1999p. 275
Notesp. 277
Indexp. 297