I need Jeff Immelt to worry far more about his company and far less about telling people about it. Why? His credibility was shot last year and nothing he says publicly inspires any reassurances anymore. Mr. Immelt, let the company's performance talk for you.
Let's walk back in time.
It was April 2008 when Immelt told investors that earnings results for 2008 "were in the bag" only to reverse that statement just weeks later.
It was Feb 5th this year that Immelt backed the dividend payout for GE only to reduce it 70% two weeks later. For the record I know the dividend "is a board decision" but Immelt is Chairman of The Board, I am guessing he has some sway in the decision making process?
General Electric Co (NYSE:GE) CEO Jeffrey Immelt acknowledged on Tuesday the company's reputation had been "tarnished" and said the entire finance industry would need to be rethought due to the global economic meltdown.
The U.S. conglomerate is already identifying parts of its hefty finance arm that it will exit in the coming years, GE's chief executive said in his annual letter to shareholders.
"Our company's reputation was tarnished because we weren't the 'safe and reliable' growth company that is our aspiration. I accept responsibility for this," Immelt, 53, wrote. "No one is more disappointed than I am with the performance of our stock in this tough environment."
I think this latest falls under the "no sh%t" category. Here is the thing. Had Immelt NOT said anything about earnings and the dividend, his recent dividend cut would be looked at as prudent rather than desperate and this statement would not be necessary.
Anything said from this point forward, until results improve will be looked at with a huge dose of warranted skepticism. Past statements have proven that looking down the road is not Immelt's strong suit, let's work on the here and now. Immelt needs to drop out of sight and re-emerge when operations improve, assuming he is still there.
GE investors do not need Immelt "falling on his sword", they need him to fix the finance unit and turn this boat around... the sooner the better...
Disclosure: Long GE