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GE names new CEO in sudden leadership shift

General Electric, one of Ohio’s and the Dayton region’s biggest and most important employers, has a new chief executive.

GE said early Monday that H. Lawrence Culp, Jr. has been named chairman and CEO by a unanimous vote of its directors, effective immediately. The company’s board also appointed Thomas Horton as lead director. Culp and Horton have been members of the GE board since April. Culp will succeed John Flannery.

Flannery had been CEO for about a year.

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All of this happened as GE acknowledged that it will fall short of previously offered guidance for free cash flow and earnings per share for the year.

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In a statement announcing the leadership change, GE warned it will take an impairment charge related to its power unit. The company said the charge, which is still being finalized, will likely total nearly $23 billion.

GE said all of its units, other than the power business, are “generally performing consistently with previous guidance.”

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GE’s aviation business — which has a strong presence in the Dayton area — appears to be doing well. GE’s aviation business, its second largest after its power unit, generated $27.4 billion last year, more than 22 percent of GE’s revenue, according to company filings.

Two big customers, Boeing and European airplane producer Airbus, have been seeing record orders for passenger planes, fueling GE Aviation’s engine business.

GE Aviation has three plants in the Dayton region with about 1,300 employees combined.

Ohio is the No. 1 supplier to GE customer Boeing, which says it spends nearly $11 billion with 392 Ohio suppliers, supporting some 34,000 Ohio jobs.

In June, GE said it will spin off its health-care unit and separate its stake in oil services company Baker Hughes in the next two to three years.

Culp, 55, served as CEO and president of Danaher Corp. from 2000 to 2014. “During his tenure he led the highly successful transformation of the company from an industrial manufacturer into a leading science and technology company,” GE said.

Shares of GE (NYSE: GE) jumped about 12.4 percent to $12.70 in early morning trading Monday. 

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