General Electric Co. hired Carolina Dybeck Happe as its next chief financial officer, giving top boss Larry Culp a new partner to help tackle one of the trickiest turnaround efforts in corporate America.
Dybeck Happe, who is resigning as finance chief at A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S, will replace Jamie Miller early next year, GE said in a statement Monday. The incoming executive will oversee GE’s global finance organization and activities including accounting, tax planning and internal auditing.
“She really understands how to put capital to work, how to manage balance sheets,” Culp said in an interview. “In addition, she is an operator.”
The move answers a question that has hung over GE since July, when Culp said he would seek a new No. 2 to help him turn the company’s fortunes around. Dybeck Happe, 47, will face major challenges from day one, including strained cash flow, a balance sheet weighed down by debt and federal investigations of GE’s accounting.
Culp said he considered both internal and external candidates as part of a “rigorous global search.”
GE climbed 1.2% to $11.69 at 9:35 a.m in New York. The shares surged 59% this year through Nov. 22, outpacing the broader market as GE partially rebounded from a deep slump.
Dybeck Happe, who joined Maersk in January, becomes the latest executive to depart the world’s biggest container shipping company as it grapples with a tough market amid a global trade war. The company lost its chief operating officer two weeks ago.
Dybeck Happe previously spent 16 years at door-lock manufacturer Assa Abloy AB. She is also on the boards of energy supplier E.ON SE and power-products maker Schneider Electric SE.
GE has already taken steps to flush out and resolve a number of issues, giving investors a clearer sense of direction as the new CFO comes in, said Nicholas Heymann, an analyst at William Blair & Co. “The foundation is starting to be rebuilt for the company.”
Culp, a longtime Danaher Corp. leader who became chief executive officer at GE last year, has remade the board, cut costs and sold assets while trying to pull the Boston-based company out of one of the worst slumps in its 127-year history. He said in July that he thought the time was right to change the finance chief.
Miller took the job in 2017 under then-CEO John Flannery and continued to oversee GE’s finances while the company sought a replacement. She will leave the company following the transition, GE said.