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Rise and fall of General Electric: American innovator to fallen giant




Ever since it was formed in 1892, GE has been a byword for American innovation — that is, until a few years ago.

GE hasn’t just gone through a tough period. It’s had a steady decline, caused by corporate turmoil, the 2008 financial crisis, falling market value, and bad subsidiary purchases. To top it off, last Thursday GE was accused of covering up $38 billion by Harry Markopolos, an accounting expert who was one of the first whistleblowers of Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.

But in its heyday (which was most of its 127 years in business), GE was an example for businesses across America. It was one of the original 12 members of the Dow Jones industrial average— and the longest-standing. GE scientists and engineers invented or perfected light bulbs, X-rays, refrigerators, television, commercial jet engines, nuclear power plants, and so much more. GE’s legendary CEO, Jack Welch, defined corporate culture in the 1980s. His successors, Jeffrey Immelt, John Flannery, and Larry Culp saw the company fall from grace.

Here’s the story of GE, from manufacturer to global conglomerate to fallen giant.

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