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President Barack Obama and GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt visit the birthplace of the General Electric Co., to showcase a new GE deal with India and to announce a restructured presidential advisory board , Friday, Jan. 21, 2011, in Schenectady, N.Y. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

GE's longtime CEO Jeff Immelt is stepping down after 16 years


After nearly two decades at the helm of General Electric, CEO Jeff Immelt is stepping down from his position.

John Flannery, the current president and CEO of the industrial giant's healthcare unit, is expected to take over the role this August. Immelt has led GE for 16 years and after he steps down, he'll stay on as chairman until his retirement.

The company, according to the Associated Press, said the c-suite shake up is part of its succession plan. Immelt is expected to retire by the end of the year.

GE's stock rallied a little over 3 percent on the news.

Analysts shared mixed reactions to the shake up but mostly agreed that it was time for a change. GE's stock has been down over 7 percent in the last 12 months.

Over the time that Immelt has been in charge, the industrial giant has shed its insurance, credit card, plastics and security divisions. But it has also thrown more weight behind new technologies, such as wind energy projects.

GE recently scooped up LM Wind Power, a Danish manufacturer of wind turbine rotor blades, for a cool $1.65 billion.

People pointed out Immelt isn't the first industrial boss to lose his job in recent months.

For its part, GE said this is how it picked its new CEO.

"Jeff has positioned the company incredibly well for the future. He executed a massive portfolio transformation and navigated the company through economic cycles and business disruptions. Today, GE is a high-tech industrial company with a bright future," Jack Brennan, lead independent director of GE's Board of Directors, said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Bornstein was named vice chair and Kiernan Murphy will take Flannery's healthcare post.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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