General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt has come clean about the financial crisis.
In prepared remarks during a speech at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, NY on Wednesday, Immelt was remarkably candid about the causes of the near collapse of world financial market’s last year.
While GE is generally not considered to be a major recipient of taxpayer funds, Immelt has publicly admitted that last year’s bailout of the financial industry greatly benefited his company. As the Washington Post pointed out earlier this year, GE’s lending arm, GE Capital, saved billions from the government’s Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program. Because it was not classified as a bank, GE Capital was able to evade some of the restrictions placed upon its peers on Wall Street.
“We are at the end of a difficult generation of business leadership, and maybe leadership in general. Tough-mindedness, a good trait, was replaced by meanness and greed, both terrible traits. As a result, the bottom 25% of Americans is poorer than they were 25 years ago. That is just plan wrong.”
He added: “Rewards became perverted. The richest people made the most mistakes with the least accountability. In too many situations, leaders divided us instead of bringing us together.”
READ Immelt’s entire prepared remarks: