General Electric Co. (GE:US) is looking at successors for Michael Neal, the executive who led the finance unit through frozen credit markets and a global recession, according to a person familiar with the deliberations.
Neal, 60, has headed GE Capital since July 2005. It’s common for Fairfield, Connecticut-based GE to consider replacements for executives of his age, when top executives frequently depart, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the discussions aren’t public.
Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt has been shrinking the unit since access to credit vanished after the 2008 bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., imperiling all of GE. He said at a conference last week that he may consider using initial public offerings to accelerate the process and shed GE Capital businesses no longer seen as essential.
GE Capital posted profit (GELK:US) of $7.4 billion on $46 billion in revenue last year. The unit had $68 billion in cash at the end of the first quarter. Ending net investment, a measure of the unit’s balance sheet, may fall more than 25 percent to as little as $300 billion by the end of next year, Immelt has said.
Gary Sheffer, a spokesman for GE, declined to comment about any succession plans after the Wall Street Journal reported earlier today that Neal may leave as soon as the middle of 2013.
William Cary, GE Capital’s chief operating officer, and Mark Begor, head of its real estate business, may succeed Neal, the newspaper reported, citing people it didn’t identify.
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