FORTUNE -- I never thought I would feel sorry for Jack Welch, but now, I do. His op-ed piece in Wednesday's Wall Street Journal, "I Was Right About That Strange Jobs Report," strikes me as, well, strange.
Even though I rarely wrote about Welch when he was becoming a household name as chief executive of General Electric (GE), I watched -- and admired -- the way he handled himself with the media. He even managed to get the last word on one of the rare occasions I wrote about him.
In 1999, after Welch announced that he'd retire in 2001, I wrote a Newsweek column saying we couldn't close the books on Welch's tenure at GE until after we'd seen how his successor performed -- a contrarian piece that made some of my bosses nervous. Shortly after the piece ran, my home fax machine spit out the last thing I expected to see: a brilliantly crafted, handwritten note from Welch telling me I was right.
That display of grace and wit, on top of a previous episode that's too inside-baseball to go into, turned me from someone who called him "Neutron Jack" (for all the U.S. jobs he vaporized) into an almost-fan.
But now Welch has lost his game. He's not deft, he's not graceful, he seems to have turned into a humorless guy with a chip on his shoulder.
Let's look at Welch's Journal column, which occupies some of the most highly coveted space in the media world. In it, he makes the same mistake he made last week, one that led to the end of his stint as a columnist at Fortune and at our competitor, Thomson Reuters.
General Electric's tax bill: The mystery remains unsolved.
FORTUNE -- What will General Electric (GE) write on the check it cuts to the IRS this year? I have no idea. And no one else knows, either.
This week, Citizens for Tax Justice, a non-profit group that advocates for higher U.S. corporate taxes, released a report saying GE paid Uncle Sam about $1 billion last year, or about 11.3% of its U.S. profits. MOREStephen Gandel, senior editor - Feb 29, 2012 12:20 PM ET
FORTUNE -- Here's the Times' original story about GE, which says in the third paragraph: "Its American tax bill? None." And here's the story that Jeff Gerth of ProPublica and I published on Apr. 4, pointing out that the Times had confused a number that companies use to report earnings with a totally different (and non-public) number they use to determine taxes owed to the IRS.
As part of our article, MOREAllan Sloan, senior editor-at-large - Nov 17, 2011 5:01 AM ET
If our nation's biggest companies want to improve their image with Americans, then they need to come clean on what they owe Uncle Sam.
FORTUNE -- It was enough to make anyone from a big company want to crawl under his chair. Here was David Crosby of the Crosby, Stills & Nash folk rock group holding forth at a recent performance in New York City's Beacon Theatre, not about war or MOREAllan Sloan, senior editor-at-large - Nov 17, 2011 5:00 AM ET
Heeding the call that outsourcing is not always the best bet, big companies are taking notice and re-shoring operations.
By Elizabeth G. Olson, contributor
FORTUNE -- Retired machine tools salesman and executive Harry Moser grew up in Elizabeth N.J., home of the sprawling Singer sewing machine factory. His father and grandfather spent their careers at Singer, the former in management and the latter as a foreman on the factory floor.
"In my day, MOREJul 22, 2011 5:00 AM ET
By Carol Loomis, senior editor-at-large
The Dow Jones average turns 115, and the only company there at start and finish gets mathematically measured.
FORTUNE -- This month marks the 115th anniversary of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and a related milestone for General Electric. The media turning up for a DJIA celebratory lunch two days ago learned that GE (GE) is the only company present in the average at its start in 1896 MOREMay 13, 2011 1:26 PM ET
General Electric (GE) today agreed to acquire around a 90% stake in Converteam, a French provider of electrification and automation equipment and systems, from a private equity consortium that includes Barclays Private Equity and LBO France. The deal is valued at €2.27 billion, or approximately $3.2 billion, and is expected to close during the third quarter. Company management will retain the remaining 10%, with GE expected to acquire those shares over the next MOREDan Primack - Mar 29, 2011 11:27 AM ET
When Warren Buffett gets the markets wrong -- as in the case of insuring against junk bond defaults and owning GE -- he often still makes money because he gets the right price.
One of the secrets of successful investing is price. Sell dear enough or buy cheap enough, and you can make money even if the market moves against you.
Today's example involves Warren Buffett, who MOREAllan Sloan, senior editor-at-large - Mar 8, 2011 5:00 AM ET
Fortune.com has learned that Steve Fludder is leaving GE Ecomagination, the $18 billion platform through which GE has focused on the "innovation and growth of profitable environmental solutions."
A firm spokeswoman confirmed the news via email, saying: "After 26 years with GE, Steve Fludder has decided to seek new challenges outside the company. We wish him well. We will be announcing his successor soon."
Fludder began his GE career as a design MOREDan Primack - Sep 23, 2010 8:53 AM ET
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