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Leadership: Apple and GE

Posted June. 14, 2017 07:15,   

Updated June. 14, 2017 07:29


Steve Jobs is remembered as the tech genius of Apple, but Apple co-founder Wozniak was the real genius. Back In 1971, he hacked a phone network and made a machine circuit that enables free international phone calls, and Jobs made it into a product and sold them at 150 dollars each. When Apple's first computer was rolled out, Wozniak created new technologies and Jobs communicated with the market to get a grasp of demand. Jobs was a great supporter of the genius, says Brent Schlender, one of the premiere chroniclers of the personal computer revolution and who has known Jobs for 25 years.

Jack Welch, former chairman of GE, also gained reputation by putting ideas into practice. He drastically increased GE's sales revenue through agressive M&As and returned capital to shareholders. At a lecture to MBA students after retiring, Welch said management is about executing not planning.

Jeffrey Immelt who took over Welch to manage GE for 16 years, gave an advice to GE's new chief John Flannery, who will inaugurate in August, saying, "Every job looks easy when you're not the one doing it." While GE was founded by Thomas Edison in 1878, Immelt transformed this traditional manufacturer into a global software firm and a digital energy firm, GE's next-generation growth engine. However, GE's shares have declined 30 percent since 2001 when he started his term as GE's chairman. Immelt said business is a game of evolution not a game of perfectionism.

GE board of directors nominated Flannery as new chairman based on a CEO succession program that GE has been under way since 2011. Since Flannery was appointed in a new way, his leadership will also be different from the top-down style of Welch or Immelt. The Financial Times said the next chief of a titan such as GE must influence and engage, not command and control.