Arrival of new GE CEO signals makeover
power-generation and oil markets.
“If earnings and cash flow are going even lower than we thought, the dividend clearly should be cut,’’ analyst Jeff Sprague of Vertical Research said in an Oct. 6 note. “GE could end up in better place once the dust settles but investors should steer clear until we learn more. That better place could be with a starting point much lower for the stock price.’’
Garden, who works closely with Trian’s Nelson Peltz, will replace Robert Lane on the board, GE said in a statement Monday. The Bostonbased maker of jet engines, gas turbines and ultrasound machines maintains “active and constructive dialogue” with Trian, according to the statement.
“Like other GE shareholders, I am disappointed by the recent performance of GE’s stock,” Garden said in the statement. “But I continue to believe that GE represents an attractive long-term investment opportunity with significant upside.”
The shares fell 1 percent to $24.15 ahead of the start of regular trading in New York. GE has tumbled 23 percent this year, putting it on track for the worst performance for a calendar year since 2008.
General Electric Co.’s new boss has barely uttered a word in public during his first two months on the job. But CEO John Flannery is already signaling his intention to forge one of the most sweeping makeovers in the company’s 125-year history.
On Monday, he accepted a board appointment for Ed Garden, a founding partner of activist shareholder Trian Fund Management, which has been pressuring GE for an overhaul. That came three days after the company named a new chief financial officer and announced the exit of two high-profile executives. Flannery is also seeking deep cost cuts and weighing portfolio changes as he seeks to reverse this year’s biggest drop on the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
Flannery, who last week also took on the chairman title, may be poised to slash earnings expectations when he presents plans to revitalize the beleaguered manufacturer at a meeting scheduled for Nov. 13. Even a dividend cut is a possibility, according to Vertical Research Partners, as GE contends with weak cash flows and sluggish demand in the