BUSINESSWEEK ONLINE : DECEMBER 11, 2000 ISSUE
COVER STORY

Neutron Jack


Photograph by Corbis/Bettman Welch was a sharp contrast to his predecessor, the statesman-CEO Reginald H. Jones, who was almost as admired in his day as Welch is now. Jones risked his reputation by pushing Welch over several other candidates. Indeed, some GE board members considered Welch too impetuous to take the helm. Welch started his reign with a bang, dismantling GE through a series of dramatic restructurings and layoffs. From 1981 to 1985, he cut 100,000 jobs, an act so painful to employees that they began referring to him as ''Neutron Jack,'' after the nuclear bomb that vaporizes people but leaves buildings standing.



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