Thursday, August 13, 2009

Inside G.E., a Little Bit of Enron

The New York Times - A decade ago, General Electric was the shining star of American business. Its longtime chief executive, Jack Welch, was named manager of the century by Fortune Magazine, and its stock seemed always to go up.

It ran a bewildering array of businesses but somehow always managed to make the expected profits. That record was viewed as proof of superior management, and the battle to succeed Mr. Welch in 2001 was watched all over the business universe. When a winner emerged, the losers quickly were hired to run other major companies.

G.E. is different now. The stock has fallen and the aura has dissipated.

This week General Electric agreed to pay $50 million to settle a suit filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission that said the company fiddled with its books repeatedly early in this decade. In at least one case, that allowed it to preserve its reputation for making the numbers. Some of the details are eerily reminiscent of Enron.http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/07/business/07norris1.html

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