Jack Welch

DEFINITION of 'Jack Welch'

The former chairman and CEO of General Electric (GE) from 1981 - 2001. Welch expanded the company and dramatically increased its market value from $14 billion to $410 billion during his tenure.

Welch has a reputation as one of the top CEOs of all time, as evidenced by Fortune magazine's recognition of him in 1999 as Manager of the Century. His management strategies included embracing change and reinvention, leading rather than controlling, giving employees at all levels responsibility and freedom, being focused, being consistent and following up.


Prior to leading GE, Welch had worked there for 21 years. He was hired as a junior engineer in 1960. During the 1980s Welch was given the nickname "Neutron Jack" for eliminating employees while leaving the office buildings intact. Welch adopted the Six Sigma quality program in 1995. The program led to greatly increased profits during the late 1990s and early 2000s.