An activist investor representative has joined the board of GE, as new chairman and CEO John Flannery (pictured) drives more boardroom change at the industrial products giant.
Ed Garden, chief investment officer and founding partner of Trian Fund Management, replaces long-serving Robert Lane on GE’s board.
Trian reportedly holds some 1% of GE stock, and is known for getting involved in looking to influence the strategic direction of the companies it invests in. Shareholders in Procter & Gamble are set to find out imminently as to whether they have elected Trian CEO Nelson Peltz onto its board.
Flannery’s move to appoint Garden swiftly follows a number of director departures at GE, including a shock move away from the company for CFO Jeff Bornstein. Other executives, including John Rice and Beth Comstock, are also set to leave with Bornstein at the end of the year.
“Our focus is on delivering for customers, world class operational excellence, integrity, accountability and driving results that will increase shareholder value,” stated Flannery. “I look forward to working with Ed Garden and the entire board to execute our strategy and drive long-term value for shareholders.”
Flannery has indicated that the business’ future lies in “digital industrial transformation”, while some commentators have suggested that cost-cutting and efficiencies will be important – particularly if its markets provide lower returns.
“Like other GE shareholders, I am disappointed by the recent performance of GE’s stock. But I continue to believe that GE represents an attractive long-term investment opportunity with significant upside,” said Garden.
“We will remain focused on enhancing long-term value for GE shareholders. I have been impressed by John Flannery and I am excited to work with John and the rest of the board in the same way that I’ve worked at other companies where I’ve been invited to join the board — collaboratively and with the common goal of driving long-term value for all shareholders,” added Garden.