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Bigger Is Not Better For GE

|Includes: General Electric Company (GE)

Jeff Immelt doesn't want to spin off GE Capital. We believe that he is making a mistake.

"Spinning off" is something that Jack Welch should have done. He should have divided GE into several companies to keep all of its top executives. Health care should have gone to Immelt, Industrial Systems to James McNerney, Consumer Products and Services to Bob Nardelli, and Capital to Gary Wendt. That would have created four smaller, nimbler companies not interdependent on each other.

Unfortunately, "size for size's sake" seems to have been a legacy of the Welch era. But Immelt is following this pattern, and keeping GE Capital, a potential albatross for the company's other operations. At some point, he may face the inevitable. But the company will probably suffer until he does.

A major industrial conglomerate that split into its component parts was Tyco; into Tyco Electronics, Tyco Healthcare, Tyco International, and CIT, the finance arm. One reason that its "creator," Dennis Kozlowski, and his methods, were totally discredited, following his criminal conviction.

A sign that Tyco was in trouble was when it wanted to be the "next GE." A sign that GE is on its way to health will be when it wants to be the next Tyco.