Message to Jeff Immelt:


There’s no real easy way to say this: please quit screwing my friends!!!

I’m sorry. This blog was previously free of profanity.

But Jeff, sometimes it’s better to say what you really think, and I honestly feel bad for my ex-collegues at GE who saved up for their retirement in GE stock. I got sentimental once and bought about $1,200 worth of GE stock for my 401(k), it’s probably worth $200 now. Some of my friends had their entire life savings in company stock, now they’ll be saying “hello, welcome to Wal-mart” for the next 20 years.

What really makes me angry Jeff, is that I remember seeing a memo from you several years ago saying “we still do too many things by the rules of some old playbook.” So I think you knew long ago the culture you inherited from the GE of Jack Welch was nothing but a grand illusion, but why didn’t you do anything about it?

Jeff, ayude me pues, GE’s Short/Current Long Term Debt alone is $193 billion, that’s 6 times the entire foreign debt of Peru, a country of 29 million people.

But let’s put things in perspective Jeff. Fly down here to Cusco (economy ticket on LAN is $800) and I’ll introduce you to a 10 year old kid in my English class. He has no hands but is happy as anything, he gets by just fine despite his disability. I can also introduce you to about 4,000 other kids where I teach, every one of them believes tomorrow will be better than today, and so do I.

I’ll also introduce you to Mama Vicky, who worked the land with her own two hands her entire life. Funny thing Jeff, Mama Vicky might “be worth” more than all of GE right now, since she has a house in a good area of Cusco – and no debt. But the point is this: she worked hard to provide tangible things to her family for eighty-some years, and GE can do the same thing.

GE makes lots of great things, tangible things, but GE culture is lousy. When I was at GE Jeff, kids with MBAs who didn’t know which pointy end of the airplane goes down the runway first had better career opportunities than hard working engineers and technicians. And what’s up with V-dollars? Come on Jeff, that sounds ridiculous even for a guy who went to business school.

I like how you cut the dividend Jeff, it was a decision based on reality. Quit worrying about AAA credit ratings. I know, I know, it affects the cost of capital. But borrowing money like it’s going out of style is what got us in this predicament, so let’s not borrow any more, okay Jeff.

Come have a few cervezas at Mama Africa with me and we can talk about how to ditch GE’s stale old 20th century culture and split of the industrial businesses in a successful IPO.

Seriously Jeff, you might think I’ve been drinking too much coca tea, but GE was a standard-bearer for business in the late 20th century, and that kind of culture is exactly what caused the recession. So let’s stop doing things like we did in the 20th century, that was a decade ago. Let’s look forward and start a radical overhaul of GE, so my friends can say “Welcome to Key West” or wherever they choose to retire, not “Welcome to Wal-mart” for the next 20 years.

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