Jeff Immelt has decided to step aside after 16 years at the helm of GE. During the period he fundamentally changed the nature of the business, yet shareholders haven’t seen the rewards. The internet is full of Welch vs Immelt comparisons, so no need to explore that here.
Jack Welch was a bit before my time, but I’ve seen his mug on book covers when browsing through bookstores around the world. I’ve never opened one of his books, but I can only assume it covers earnings manipulation in great detail, after seeing the below chart courtesy of a 2012 Business Insider article
GE took a $50m fine in the early 2000s for accounting shenanigans. Remember when that was a big number?
What would similar earnings manipulation be worth in 2017?
Always be careful of smooth numbers, whether they be the earnings of a conglomerate or GDP growth of a country.