General Electric Co. is reported to be searching for an eventual successor to Michael Neal, who has led the industrial giant’s financial arm since 2005.
Neal, 60, first joined GE in 1979 and now serves as chairman and CEO of GE Capital in addition to his role as vice chairman of the parent company. According to published reports, it is common for GE to begin the succession planning process for key positions when the incumbents reach Neal’s age.
Since the fall of Lehman Brothers in 2008, GE, based in Fairfield, has been shrinking its finance unit, which is headquartered in Norwalk.
In a recent example, American Realty Capital Properties Inc. – a real estate investment trust based in New York City – announced May 31 that it had agreed to purchase a portfolio of 471 properties from GE Capital for $807 million. The portfolio consists of net-lease properties that are mainly used by restaurants.
CEO and Chairman Jeffrey Immelt broached the topic at a May 22 conference in Florida, where he reportedly told attendees that the company would consider spinning off segments of GE Capital that are no longer seen as essential through initial public offerings (IPOs).
“The capital markets are very receptive to IPOs,” Immelt said in a speech at the Electrical Products Group Conference. “I think you basically have as good a setting as you could possibly have.”