The story begins with a beaming face. John Flannery was delighted. He was one of the architects of a $ 10 billion deal. General Electric bought French Alstom’s energy division in autumn 2015. “The deal is highly strategic,” said Flannery, and it has “excellent growth prospects.”
Flannery was later promoted to head of General Electric (GE). Essentially, with the Alstom acquisition, GE had expanded its turbine manufacturing business. These turbines produce electricity from natural gas and coal. GE paid around $ 10 billion at the time.
When GE started in Switzerland, it still offered 5300 jobs in this country. Then it happened in quick succession. The first major round of savings followed in January 2016: around 1,300 jobs were to be cut in Switzerland. In December 2017, GE went public again: this time there were 1,400 jobs.
In the fall of 2018, GE had to write off the “highly strategic” 10 billion deal to zero. CEO Flannery was out of his job. His departure was worth a single sentence to GE in a press release.
That made it clear: GE had made a colossal bad investment. The American industrial icon simply slept through the trend towards renewable and decentralized energy production.
In June 2019, GE went public again. Another 450 jobs should disappear. GE was nevertheless optimistic. 2019 will be a turning point year. This week the group announced another mass layoff. Over 500 jobs are now in acute danger.
There are currently 2,400 permanent employees working for GE in Switzerland. It comes to this week announced the latest mass layoffs of over 500 employees, fewer 2000 jobs would be left.
From 5300 jobs down to less than 2000 jobs: a total of 3300 have disappeared. And that in just five years after a “highly strategic” 10 billion deal with “excellent growth prospects”.