GE Brings Executive out of Retirement to Boost New Power Unit

Nov. 19, 2018
John Rice, 63, has been named chairman of GE’s Gas Power business, which includes gas power systems and power services.

General Electric Co. is bringing back a retired executive to help turn around its struggling power business.

John Rice, 63, has been named chairman of GE’s Gas Power business, which includes gas power systems and power services, the company said in a statement Monday. Rice retired as GE Vice Chairman a year ago as part of a wave of departures following a management overhaul that has seen the departure of two chief executive officers in less than two years.

Rice’s appointment is part of a broader restructuring of the power business. GE moved Scott Strazik to CEO of Gas Power, leaving his role as President of Power Services. Russell Stokes, who has been CEO of GE Power, will be chief of the GE Power Portfolio, which includes steam, grid solutions, nuclear and power conversion businesses.

The division has been hampered by a broad market slump, exacerbated by GE’s ill-timed 2015 acquisition of Alstom SA’s energy unit for $10 billion. More recently, GE disclosed that its flagship gas turbines were suffering from an oxidation issue.

‘Rock Bottom’
Last month, the Boston-based company said it would divide its struggling power unit into two separate operating segments as Larry Culp, who was named CEO Oct. 1, said the business is “ getting close” to hitting rock bottom.

“One of my top priorities is positioning our businesses to win, starting with GE Power,” Culp said in the statement. “The leaders we are announcing today are exceptionally well suited to lead our new Gas Power and Power Portfolio teams in their efforts to deliver better customer outcomes and improve their execution and cost structures.”

Rice had a 39 year-career at GE and walked away with a $7.88 million payout. He’s currently on the board of GE’s Baker Hughes energy unit.

GE rose 1.7 percent to $8.16 in New York Monday. The company has lost more than $200 billion in market value so far this year.

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