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GE Board Was Kept in the Dark About CEO's Extra Plane

While CEO, Mr. Immelt wanted a backup jet in case there was a mechanical issue that could lead to delays, the people said. Flight crews were told to not openly refer to the backup planes, for fear of raising eyebrows, especially at the small airport facilities for private jets, the people said. One person said the flight manifest sometimes listed "Robert Jeffries" or "Jeffrey Roberts" as the passenger on the second plane, when in fact the seats were empty. ( More...

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Billy Koskie 17
I would think a jet could be chartered without a couple of hours if his had a mechanical problem. The fact GE kept it quite is notice enough they knew it was a bad idea.
Victor Zahn 3
Or another one from their fleet shouldn't be more than a few hours away. But then he might have to ride with another one of his management team. Couldn't have that!
Ralph Torres 3
Using Netjets or other fractional ownership firm would have been a good option for a company as big as GE.
bbabis 8
It really comes down to wanting the absolute and total control of the travel almost to the point of paranoia. The practice is still done by many companies and even our 89th Air Lift Wing.
Victor Zahn 14
"Unaware of the practice", YEAH RIGHT Immelt. What a liar! Go sit with Harvey Weinstien.
Richard Loven 11
Maybe the Chief thought the GE Engines were unreliable and thought it was a good idea to bring along spares.
tuba 5
Agree with Ric that corporate jet travel can be cost-efficient if well-managed; CEO's need to periodically visit dozens of company sites, attend industry conferences, and much more that Skype can't accomplish. Personal travel is another matter entirely. One Fortune 500 corporation I deal with takes the high road on this... to minimize safety and security issues, their board encourages the CEO to use company equipment for his private travel. But they've executed an SEC Form 8K, publicly detailing the wet lease pricing the CEO must pay the company for that privilege (actually, a time share agreement). Corp gets the security they want, but no free ride for the individual. And a strict no-deadhead rule across the company, for both personal and company travel.
Jack Welch would never have allowed this to happen. Immelt is a liar and and idiot to think that the Board and stockholders would belive his idiotic statement that "he did not know about the 2nd jet following his on trips". Shows he had no knowledge of what was happening in his Company.
What the 2nd aircraft appeared at the same airports my miracle? Shear lunacy. The Board should terminate his pension.
Ken Jackson 2
I recall a visit to Martha’s Vineyard when Mr. Welch was in residence. There were three G.E. logo jets on the ramp the entire four days I was on island. Just sayin’.
bbabis 1
Very common for most large flight departments during board meetings.
CriticalMass 1
Jack Welch insisted on and got the unfettered use of a BBJ post retirement. If memory serves the Board finally got around to nullifying that bit of largess. Welch was just as dirty with a god-like ego as the current crop.
glang3 8
The outcome is a real shame. Because of "perception" (and, let's face it, it is all about perception), there are now some good, quality folks who were just hard workers doing their jobs who are now out on the street, all because of the "perception" that someone was being too lavish. Either way this goes, it is always the folks who do the real work who get hurt. There are no golden parachutes for them. It drives me nuts.
Frank Austin 4
This is even more ridiculous than the CEOs of the automakers flying to Washington in their corporate jets to beg for bailout money from the federal government.

I think many CEOs trade their brains for egos when they move up to the top floor.
A GE spokesperson said ""We do not believe that the understandable criticism of this discontinued practice fairly reflects on Jeff's dedicated service to GE for over 30 years," she added, referring to Mr. Immelt." Bullshit!!! He purposely HID the plane. Had anyone else did this, it would be called FRAUD. I know some GE executives when they came into our Fortune 500 company and despised them becuase they thought they were gods could do as they pleased. Sadly, I own GE stock but not for much longer.
At the bottom of the Forbes article; they admit, the GE Board ,long ago,insisted CEO's have alternate air travel available. Whether that meant :Commercial, Lease, or secondary company owned; who knows . They may have intentionally left it open to interpretation.
AWAAlum 3
I don't pretend to know the ins and outs of corporate jets, but I do know back in the day when I was working for the Exec V.P. at McDonnell Douglas in Arizona, the corporate jet was almost never used. I was told it was far cheaper to fly commercial than the cost of just getting it off the ground.
Noone is that important to waste money in two jets for one guy, with today's technology we are in touch with the world 24/7.
jack slide 3
Like most CEO's I have encountered over the years, they will gladly spend the company's money or (stock holders) but when it comes to spending their own they are the cheapest people I have ever met. I think that is how the Grand Canyon was formed, one of them accidentally dropped a penny of theirs in a gopher hole!
dmwdmw 5
A blogger was onto this story 7 years ago in 2010, but GE denied it:
flypilot12 2
I used to service these planes often at KBDF.
flypilot12 2
and at KBDR.
Greg Zelna 2
But it was only ONE plane. And not a really big one, and that- so whats the big deal ?! (note, sarc)
bbabis 2
I don't know if they still do it but I knew a major company in central Illinois that always did that. When the big guy flew they always chased his Falcon 900 with a Falcon 50 just in case.
SmokedChops 2
based in Decatur,IL- has a sweet F-900. Got to tour it when it was at a fly-in at KPEA. Had less than 130 hrs if I recall.
bbabis 1
I can neither confirm nor deny...
ron baird 1
Shareholders should demand he repay GE the cost of that perk!
WhiteKnight77 1
No wonder GE's Krautkramer ultrasonic inspection units are so damned expensive. ;) I was interested in buying one (DMS 2), but it said call for quote on the website. Ouch.
Ryan Hodges 1
"the people said"
mike costanzo 1

Pretty economical Back Up, anyway.
Sir Richard, I respectfully disagree with you, the practice is not an economical "back-up" since the block hour cost greatly out weighs the cost of a first class ticket on a commercial Airline. It seems Immelt was too good to travel with the rest of us peasants.
Peter, any thoughts on what Jeff Immelt's 'Block Hour'might be ?
Well, for the aircraft, crew, maintenance, insurance and fuel (ACMIF) and it being a Global about $1200-1500 an hour - conservatively.
Richard, I'm just saying that the cost of the flight to ANC and back (not including the possible flight to Korea) way out weighs the cost of a First Class ticket to come back.
skylane8 3
Try $10000 an hour.
bentwing60 1
Based on his ego or the stockholders returns?
phil gibson 1
Scumbags like Immelt gives Aviation a bad name....he’s not the first and certainly not the last....
zuluzuluzulu 1
This would be a story of fiscal abuse if the back up plane carried his mistresses. Otherwise, this is standard operating procedure for a ceo of a huge corp.
AWAAlum 2
We wouldn't be reading about it were it SOP.
Tim Trosky 1
If it is SOP then it's a sad disconnect from reality and investors.
Highflyer1950 -1
Another good case to own a Gulfstream.
gordon turner -7
On what basis? Why not Boeing or Airbus? This forum does not applaud account specific responses that are baseless. Please be specific in your responses.
bentwing60 3
Because he couldn't hide airplanes that size or the money. Can't hide one at Augusta. May be baseless, so please be specific in your response.
gordon turner 1
Ok got it. Gulfstream is the best alternative to be inconspicuous when dodging the public. You made your point well.
Highflyer1950 1
No, they rarely break down!
Ric Wernicke -9
GE is a 180 billion dollar company. The time of the CEO is very valuable and protection of the executives is necessary in today's world. As high as the price of operations of corporate aircraft may seem it is actually cheap insurance against missed schedules and meetings. The sudden loss of a CEO can cost a company millions, so any misdirection about their actual whereabouts serves to protect them.

I see this backup plan as little different in concept than having a spare tire in the trunk of his car.
bentwing60 3
Whose stock price has been stagnant for years under Immelt's direction. I sold mine a good while back after years of Buy, Hold recommendations from the pundits. I'm pretty sure Bombardier won't run this up the flagpole if GE's "God" had so little confidence in their product, and his flight department maintenance. Though I think it was more about his ego and somebody else's money. Not exactly a normal procedure in any corporate ops I ever knew or heard of. Spot on HF, did you notice FlexJet is buying Gulfstreams now, (old news).
canuck44 -3
Sold mine before the last election. Immelt was living in Obama's back pocket and GE had gotten some sweetheart deals from the association. I lucked out for if the election had gone the other way, those deals would still be coming. They will still get the deals but will have to compete for them.
Highflyer1950 4
True, but CEO's come and go. However, company is still there and worth "180 billion more or less". If the plane breaks the CEO can and will make do in a private office at the FBO with phone, fax, and email at hand. No business meeting is ever that important that it can't be rescheduled.
AWAAlum 2
I think when considering the costs of having to reschedule, it isn't just "the" CEO's expenses, but also the costs of all of the executives costs to travel to the meeting site. I imagine that to be extraordinarily high.
Torsten Hoff 3
That's all fine and good if the Board Of Directors knows and approves.
bbabis 2
Not sure why the down vote. That is the bottom line.
bentwing60 3
The "thumb" has lost it's stature with me since we showed up here. Once, it was about the post, now it's about the poster. Not surprisingly I didn't win too many popularity contests, but it didn't keep me from findin the airport.
If the time of the CEO is so valuable, perhaps he or she should use 'video conferencing' whenever he or she can, rather than 'waste' time on travel. =)
All all levels, in all companies; there is unnecessary travel, golf outings and dinners. Unfortunately, that seems to have become the norm. Video conferencing should be used, not to mention the old-fashioned phone. We don't place enough emphasis on facts and the bottom line, but use comradere and popularity as a business basis.
Greg Zelna 1
The (empty) chase plane is of little use if the plane he or she (CEO) is in, crashes. A backup does nothing to insure against the 'loss of a CEO'. The backup would only potentially be of use in the case of mechanical issues forcing a controlled landing at an alternate. And then, would it not be possible to charter a private AC from the alternate destination to the final one, saving millions of dollars ? And worst case if a delay is inevitable since no alternate AC is available, revert back to an old fashioned 'teleconference'.
It probably was BOGO free. Good deal, mr CEO.


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