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GE Names Immelt Successor to Welch

Welch will exit the helm of the company at the end of 2001.
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General Electric

(GE) - Get General Electric Company Report

on Monday named Jeffrey Immelt to

succeed Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jack Welch, one of America's most respected business executives, when Welch steps aside at the end of 2001.

Immelt, an 18-year GE veteran, was immediately installed as president and chairman-elect of the Fairfield, Conn.-based conglomerate. Immelt, 44, was most recently president and CEO of

GE Medical Systems

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, a $7 billion unit of GE that is a leader in medical diagnostic technology and information systems.

"Jeff Immelt is a natural leader, and ideally suited to lead GE for many years," said Welch in a statement. "He brings a keen strategic intellect, a cutting-edge technological background, strong leadership characteristics and a unique set of team-building skills."

Immelt began his career at GE in 1982 and, following a brief position in corporate marketing, has held a series of leadership roles with

GE Plastics

in sales, marketing and global product management.

Shares in GE were up lately 88 cents, or 2%, at $50.25.