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Kim Fournais on Jack Welch

Thought Leadership 5 minutes to read
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Kim Fournais

Founder and CEO

Summary:  On Sunday, March 1 2020, Jack Welch, CEO of General Electric for 20 years, passed away with his family around him. Jack Welch is an icon inspiring countless people and businesses around the world. As CEO of General Electric, he provided one of history's best examples of how to run a successful and honest business.

It is important that we learn from an impressive person as Jack Welch. He showed us that leaders must communicate a company's goals and mission clearly, and promote and reward the employees who drive the company towards these goals. As CEO of GE, he focused on rewarding initiative and passion, and fighting bureaucracy and inertia. He insisted that all companies must face reality with honesty and focus - although the conclusions from reality may not be convenient. One of Jack Welch's most important insights is that you should strive to become the very best at what you do or simply shut down. That kind of ambition and realism drives the world forward. "Control your destiny, or someone else will" is one of his famous quotes - an important point that has certainly not become less relevant at a time of massive upheaval in our society and business.

Jack Welch was a prominent person who executed a fundamental turnaround of GE, and that, of course, drew admirers and critics alike. While some might disagree with his methods and goals, there can be no disagreement that he stood for integrity and communicated decisions openly and honestly. In the 20 years he headed General Electric, the company's value multiplied from $ 12 billion to $ 410 billion. GE's performance under Jack Welch's leadership speaks for itself, and he has inspired a whole generation of skilled GE executives and employees who have moved on to delivered great results in other companies as well.

We had the great pleasure and honour of Jack Welch visiting Saxo Bank in 2006. He made a positive and lasting impression on all of us, and has been a major influence on our culture. I greatly admire his ability to build a healthy culture around openness, honest feedback and rewarding hard work. Saxo Bank would not be Saxo Bank without Jack Welch's inspiration.

We therefore often give Jack Welch's book "Winning" to employees and partners. I think everyone can find great inspiration in his thoughts centering around honesty and productivity.

Tell the truth and be productive. Aim to be the best at what you do. We can all learn from this and I am sure it will only become even more relevant in the coming years.


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