Uhl Bien on CNBC v2

Mary Uhl-Bien Interviewed on CNBC about New CEO at General Electric

Management Professor Mary Uhl-Bien was called upon by “Squawk Box” to grade the performance of General Electric CEO John Flannery as the company attempts a massive turnaround plan.

November 14,  2017

By Elaine Cole

“Squawk Box,” CNBC’s signature morning program, called on Mary Uhl-Bien, the BNSF Endowed Professor of Leadership at the TCU Neeley School of Business, for insights into the changing of the guard at GE.

“We have to think about what Flannery has inherited. GE lost a third of the value since Immelt took over. They were not on top of the change. This is an organization that got very clunky. Flannery comes from health care. He understands the complexity of health care. He saw the potential. I’m pretty optimistic about where he’s going to go with it,” Uhl-Bien told anchors Joe Kernen, Becky Quick and Andrew Ross Sorkin.

Uhl-Bien said conglomerates face tough times in today’s environment, with high levels of change and unpredictability.

“The argument is that a portfolio will take care or risk, but in this case I think it’s actually making it worse,” she said. “Flannery understands complexity. He knows they need to get more focused and identify complimentary areas rather than thinking of this as just a portfolio.”

Although she predicted that things will get worse before they get better, Uhl-Bien said she is optimistic about Flannery’s direction.

“From a leadership perspective, you never waste a good crisis,” she said. “Investors are going to be unhappy for a little while. He’s got to get the cash flow under control. But if he uses this and really drives the culture change he’s talking about, focuses on strategy, gets the idea of digital and really works to expand that strategy, I’m going to go out on a limb here and be bullish on Flannery.” 

Watch the full interview here: https://www.cnbc.com/video/2017/11/14/professor-general-electric-became-clunky-under-former-ceo-jeff-immelt.html.