said Monday that the
Securities and Exchange Commission
is looking into its employment and postemployment contracts with former CEO Jack Welch, which included lavish perks such as a Manhattan apartment and use of the company's planes.
GE said it received the SEC request on Friday, a day after the company had already decided to modify Welch's postretirement contract. Under the new agreement, Welch will receive only an office and administrative support.
Wall Street Journal
op-ed piece written by Welch on Monday, he said he was relinquishing some of his retirement benefits because failure to do so could have tarnished the reputation of GE -- a company he led for 21 years. Still, he said he always believed the package to be fair because it was drawn up in 1996 at a time when the firm was flourishing.
"There was not a single day in the past six years that I thought it was improper, and I don't believe it is improper today," he wrote. "I've learned the hard way that perception matters more than ever."
Welch estimated that he would pay GE between $2 million and $2.5 million a year for facilities and services such as the use of company planes and an apartment. He also said he would consult on an as-needed basis and regularly teach courses at GE's management development center at no cost to the company or shareholders.
GE said it will cooperate fully with the SEC probe.