General Electric

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General Electric Company

legal form Corporation
ISIN US3696041033
founding 1892
Seat Boston , Massachusetts , USA
  • H. Lawrence Culp, Jr. ( CEO )
  • Victor Abate ( CTO )
Number of employees approx. 313,000
sales 95.214 billion US dollars
Branch Conglomerate
As of December 31, 2019

The US General Electric ( GE , General Electric Company ) is one of the largest conglomerates in the world. The headquarters have been in Boston ( Massachusetts ) since 2016 . The company was based in Schenectady , New York State , for over 80 years and then from 1974 in Fairfield (Connecticut) .

With sales of $ 123.7 billion and profits of $ 8.8 billion, General Electric was the 14th largest company in the world in 2017 according to Forbes Global 2000 . According to the Fortune 500 , it is also one of the 50 companies with the highest sales worldwide (as of the 2016 financial year). The company had a market capitalization of $ 261.2 billion in early 2017. This fell to $ 63 billion by the end of 2018.


Thomas Alva Edison was referring in 1876 a laboratory in Menlo Park ( New Jersey ). Three years later, in 1879, he had his most famous invention patented: the light bulb . Edison presented his invention at the International Electricity Exhibition 1881 in Paris , where he the Germans Emil Rathenau so enthusiastic that this covers the territory of the German Reich acquired the rights to Edison's patents and in 1883 in Berlin with the German Edison Company of Applied electricity the Production of incandescent lamps began. The German Edison Society was renamed the Allgemeine Elektricitäts-Gesellschaft in 1887 , whose acronym AEG later became world-famous.

In 1890, Edison founded the Edison General Electric Company in the United States to bring his various businesses together under one roof.

In 1892 it was combined with the then biggest competitor, the Thomson-Houston Electric Company of Elihu Thomson and Edwin James Houston , to form the General Electric Company with headquarters in Schenectady ( New York ). Charles A. Coffin , who was head of Thomson-Houston until then, became head of GE . He led the new company for the first 20 years.

GE was one of the twelve companies listed in the Dow Jones Index , which was introduced in 1896 , and the only one of those twelve that stayed in the index until 2018. On June 26, 2018, GE was removed from the Dow Jones Index after 111 years of membership.

In 1913 GE presented the Coolidge X-ray tube, named after its inventor William David Coolidge , thereby laying the foundation for the GE Healthcare sector.

The history of the Aviation division began in 1917 when the US government developed the first aircraft engine.

The group was also active in the media business and was one of the founders of Radio Corporation of America (RCA) in 1919 , which manufactured radios and in 1926 set up the NBC station. Two years later, the first regular television programs were broadcast from what was then GE's headquarters in Schenectady, New York. The withdrawal from the media business began in 2009 when the group gave the majority of NBC to Comcast . In February 2013, the industrial group General Electric sold its remaining shares in the television station NBCUniversal to the US company Comcast.

GE Capital's footsteps go back to the 1930s when a proprietary finance company helped consumers purchase General Electric's home appliances. In the 1960s, GE Capital gave up this branch and specialized in corporate clients in the consumer, commercial and industrial goods markets.

In the mid-1980s, the company tried to break into the online services business and founded GEnie with a US-wide (and from 1990 also accessible from Germany) computer network.

Today, GE is a conglomerate operating in the energy, health, finance and transportation sectors. The group employs 300,000 people in over 100 countries worldwide, 80,000 of them in Europe. Between 2001 and 2005, GE was the most expensive company in the world by market capitalization according to the Financial Times Global 500 list . In August 2000, its market capitalization was $ 594 billion.

Jack Welch was involved in major restructuring of the company's recent history; he headed GE from 1981 to 2001 and was replaced by Jeffrey R. Immelt . In the 20 years of his tenure, the stock rose 4,000 percent. Bookkeeping problems that became known in 2019 and the allegation of balance sheet fraud, which are said to have started in the time of Welch, were put at 38 billion US dollars, which corresponds to around 40 percent of the remaining market capitalization of just less than 70 billion.

Former vehicle construction

In the early days, the company manufactured several vehicles . They were intended for experimental purposes. The numbers vary between 9 and 18 copies, one of which still exists.

Between 1894 and 1898 vehicles were built at a plant in Lynn , Massachusetts. The first vehicle was an electric car , the electric motor 3 PS made. This was followed by several cars with cylinder - petrol engines and in 1897 another electric car. The designer of these vehicles was Elihu Thomson . In addition, electric cars are named after Hermann Lemp's patents .

Between 1902 and 1903, the company again manufactured vehicles at a plant in Schenectady, New York State. They were hybrid electric vehicles . They had a four-cylinder engine and an additional two electric motors, each of which drove one of the rear wheels. Both Lemp and the Grant-Ferris Company were involved in this project. There were also experiments with steam cars . In this connection Thomson is mentioned again.

The same literature source states elsewhere that the steam wagons were called Thomson between 1898 and 1903 .

Key figures

Business and employee development (respective fiscal year)
GJ Employees Sales
in US $ million
Balance sheet profit
in million US $
in US $ million
2005 316,000 136,580 16,720 673,321
2006 319,000 151,568 20,742 696.683
2007 327,000 172,488 22,208 795.683
2008 323,000 181,581 17,335 797.769
2009 304,000 154,438 10,725 781.901
2010 287,000 149,567 11,344 747.793
2011 301,000 146,542 13,120 718.189
2012 305,000 146.684 13,641 684.999
2013 307,000 113.245 13,057 656.560
2014 305,000 117.184 15,233 654,954
2015 333,000 117,386 −6,145 493.071
2016 295,000 119,469 6,845 365.183
2017 313,000 99.279 −8.920 369.245
2018 283,000 97.012 −22,802 311.072
2019 205,000 95.214 −5,439 266.048

GE in Germany

In 1929/1930 General Electric took over common shares of AEG at a price of 200 percent with a nominal value of 30 million Reichsmarks , which corresponded to a share of 27.5 percent of the share capital, and sent five members to the AEG supervisory board.

In Germany, GE (as of May 2016) has around 11,000 employees at more than 50 locations. On June 28, 2004, GE opened one of then five (2015: six) research centers worldwide in Garching near Munich . It employs (as of mid-2015) around 200 researchers and employees from over 20 countries. Since the center was founded, GE has invested around 100 million euros in the infrastructure and research work there. GE Global Research Europe's main research areas include renewable energies and energy systems, drive technology, manufacturing methods for fiber composite materials , measurement and control technology, turbo machines and imaging processes for medical diagnostics. The other research centers are located in Niskayuna (New York), San Ramon (California), Bangalore (India), Shanghai (China) and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) with around 2,600 employees.

Business areas

Revenue by division in billion $ (2016)

GE comprises the following divisions:

  • GE Power
  • GE Renewable Energy
  • GE Oil & Gas
  • GE Aviation
  • GE Healthcare
  • GE Transportation Systems
  • GE Energy Connections & Lighting
  • GE Capital
    • Factoring and structured finance
    • Vehicle leasing and fleet management
    • Property, sales and purchase financing
    • GE Capital Direkt - investments for private customers
    • GE Capital Aviation Services
    • GE Capital Real Estate
    • GE Financial Energy Service

Company acquisitions and sales

General Electric completes around 400 mergers and acquisitions each year. Some of the last few years are listed below.


  • GE Aerospace (radar and satellite technology) was sold to the Martin Marietta Corporation for over US $ 3 billion (1995 merged with Lockheed to form Lockheed Martin ).


  • Entertainment division of Vivendi Universal . Creation of one of the largest media groups in the world, NBCUniversal
  • Acquisition of Allbank AG in Germany, merger to GE Money Bank
  • Credit card division of US financial services Dillard for 1.25 billion US dollars
  • Mortgage Insurance Company Genworth Financial (based in Richmond , Virginia )
  • November 15: Acquisition of the security systems division of SPX Edwards for $ 1.4 billion
  • November 24: Acquisition of water treatment company Ionics for US $ 1.1 billion


  • April 19: Bombardier finance department for $ 1.4 billion
  • May 11: 49.99 percent of Central American bank BAC International Bank, Panama; $ 500 million


  • June: Acquisition of the American electronics company SBS Technologies (around 120 jobs in Germany)
  • October 10: Acquisition of the German leasing companies DISKO and ASL
  • December: Acquisition of the English electronics company Radstone


  • August: Sale of the GE Plastics division to SABIC ; the proceeds of 11.6 billion US dollars will be used for share buybacks.


  • March: Sale of GE Money Germany, Austria and Finland to Banco Santander.
  • February: Acquisition of Whatman plc.


  • December: General Electric announces the sale of 51 percent of NBC Universal to cable operator Comcast. The total value of the transaction is approximately $ 30 billion. GE will receive $ 6.5 billion in cash and will retain 49 percent of NBC.


  • September: General Electric completes acquisition of Converteam .


  • February: General Electric sells its remaining shares in the television station NBCUniversal to the US company Comcast


In April 2014 it was announced that GE intends to take over the energy business (with the power and grid divisions ) of the French Alstom group for around 12 billion euros. Thereupon the French politicians tried to push through a European solution for the partial sale of the Alstom divisions. A joint offer by Siemens and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in June 2014 was unsuccessful. On November 2, 2015, GE announced the acquisition for a purchase price of 9.7 billion euros. With the conclusion of the deal, the new Grid Solutions division was created in the Energy Management business area. In the future, Alstom will concentrate on the transport sector and will take over the railway signaling division of General Electric for 700 million euros.


  • January: On January 13th, General Electric announced the closure of one of the historic turbine plants in Germany with currently more than 1,000 employees in Mannheim and other German locations (e.g. Bexbach, Stuttgart, Mainz-Kastel).
  • Sale of home appliances division (GE Appliances) to Qingdao Haier, a subsidiary of Haier Electronics Group , for $ 5.4 billion.
  • Relocation of the headquarters of Fairfield (Connecticut) to Boston ( Massachusetts ). The first employees moved in summer 2016, with more to follow by 2018.
  • Acquisition of the majority shares of Concept Laser (Germany) and Arcam AB (Sweden) in the field of additive manufacturing technologies.
  • October: GE Wind Energy takes over LM Wind Power for 1.5 billion euros. The company is to remain operationally independent and continue to supply rotor blades for other wind turbine manufacturers .


  • Sale of the water division to Suez on September 30th.
  • Mass layoffs of 1,600 employees in Germany (16 percent of German employees) announced.
  • Share price loss of around 40 percent.
  • Sale of the "Industrial Solutions" electrification division to ABB for $ 2.6 billion.


The GE brand

The GE brand was the sixth most valuable brand in the world with an estimated value of 46.9 billion US dollars (as of 2013), but fell out of the top 10 after 2016. In 2004 the logo was changed slightly, the slogan “we bring good things to life” was replaced by “imagination at work”, and our own font, GE Inspira, was developed. This font is mostly used as a lower case.

executive Director

Other personalities

  • Sigmund Meyer (1873–1935), who later became an electric car pioneer, worked for General Electric for three years.
  • Gerhard Neumann (1917–1997) was with GE for over 30 years


In practically all areas (e.g. power station technology and wind energy, medical technology or lighting), GE faces strong international competition, especially from the European groups ABB , Siemens , Philips and Alstom , the US company Emerson and large Japanese companies such as Hitachi and Mitsubishi .

In the jet engine sector , Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce are the main competitors, with P & W cooperating in a number of areas. The CFM International joint venture was founded in 1974 with the French company Snecma (part of Safran since 2005 ) .

Web links

Commons : General Electric  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

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  2. Elly Cosgrove: General Electric named Maersk CFO Carolina Dybeck Happe as its new CFO. November 25, 2019, accessed April 7, 2020 .
  3. ^ General Electric: number of employees. Retrieved April 7, 2020 .
  4. General Electornic Company (GE). (Website) AlphaQuery, December 31, 2019, accessed April 6, 2020 .
  5. ^ General Electric on the Forbes Top Regarded Companies List. In: Forbes . June 6, 2018, accessed November 27, 2018 .
  6. Motley Fool: What to Expect from General Electric in 2019. In: December 30, 2018, accessed February 10, 2020 .
  7. 130 years of GE in Germany; General Electric tries again in Germany ,
  8. General Electric flies out of Dow Jones. In: Deutsche Welle . June 20, 2018. Retrieved November 27, 2018 .
  9. Hans-Peter Siebenhaar, Tanja Kuchenbecker: NBC sales: Vivendi stops disaster in the USA. In: Handelsblatt . December 1, 2009, accessed November 27, 2018 .
  10. ^ GE in Germany. (No longer available online.), archived from the original on December 10, 2009 ; accessed on May 26, 2019 .
  11. ^ The Group ( Memento from August 3, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  12. Ex-industrial icon as a global financial risk. Will General Electric trigger the next financial crisis? Manager Magazin August 21, 2019.
  13. a b c Beverly Rae Kimes, Henry Austin Clark Jr .: Standard catalog of American Cars. 1805-1942. Digital edition . 3. Edition. Krause Publications, Iola 2013, ISBN 978-1-4402-3778-2 , pp. 634 (English).
  14. Beverly Rae Kimes, Henry Austin Clark Jr .: Standard catalog of American Cars. 1805-1942. Digital edition . 3. Edition. Krause Publications, Iola 2013, ISBN 978-1-4402-3778-2 , pp. 1468 (English).
  15. General Electric Revenue 2006-2019 | GE. Retrieved April 29, 2020 .
  16. ^ General Electric Germany
  17. GE Global Research Europe ( Memento from August 4, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  18. a b
  19. a b Form 10-K 2016
  20. ^ Business Areas , GE Germany
  21. ^ GE Completes Sale of Plastics Business to SABIC. General Electric, August 31, 2007; archived from the original on September 12, 2014 ; accessed on February 10, 2020 (English).
  22. dpa: Banco Santander buys German branches of GE Money Bank. In: The world . March 28, 2008, accessed December 22, 2009 .
  23. Whatman press releases
  25. GE Energy Completes $ 3.2 Billion Deal to Acquire Converteam. ( Memento of September 24, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Press release from General Electric, September 2, 2011 (English)
  26. ^ General Electric wins battle for Alstom , Frankfurter Allgemeine
  27. GE Completes Acquisition of Alstom Power and Grid Businesses , November 2, 2015
  29. Group restructuring: General Electric completes purchase of Alstom's energy division. November 2, 2015, accessed December 2, 2016 .
  30. GE cuts 1066 jobs in Mannheim ,
  31. GE reaches agreement to take over a 75 percent stake in German Concept Laser GmbH
  32. GE to buy Arcam AB and Concept Laser - Update: Acquisitions completed , September 6, 2016
  33. ^ GE acquires LM Wind Power . In: Windpower Monthly , October 12, 2016. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  34. Billion deal : French Suez buys water business from General Electric. In: Handelsblatt . March 8, 2017. Retrieved November 27, 2018 .
  35. SUEZ finalizes the acquisition of GE Water & Process Technologies. In: Suez. October 2, 2017, accessed October 30, 2018 .
  36. GE cuts 1,600 jobs in Germany. In: n-tv. December 7, 2017, accessed October 30, 2018 .
  37. Claus Hulverscheidt, Thomas Fromm: The crash of General Electric. In: January 16, 2018, accessed October 30, 2018 .
  38. Stefan Weinzierl: Finished: ABB takes over GE Industrial Solutions. In: Production. July 2, 2018, accessed October 30, 2018 .
  39. Leo Himmelbauer: Financial investor Advent draws the big lot at GE Jenbacher. In: The press . June 25, 2018, accessed November 27, 2018 .
  40. These are the most valuable brands of 2013 , Tagesschau , September 30, 2013
  41. Ralph Jarron Cordiner (* March 20, 1900 in Walla Walla County ; † 1973) washing machine representative , under his aegis a computer en: GE-600 series was developed as part of the MISsile TRAjectory Measurement en: MISTRAM project. , ,
  42. Gerald L. Phillippe (* 1909; † 1968 in Greenwich Village with myocardial infarction )
  43. H. LAWRENCE CULP, JR. NAMED CHAIRMAN AND CEO OF GE. In: October 1, 2018, accessed November 27, 2018 .