Business | Less general, more electric

Will GE do better as three companies than as one?

How to dismantle an industrial icon

General Electric banners hangs on the facade of New York Stock Exchange.
Photograph: AP

“THE DIFFICULTIES inherent in such a reorganisation were many and serious.” That is how in 1893 Charles Coffin, the first chief executive of General Electric (GE), described merging three businesses into what became the iconic American conglomerate. More than 130 years later Coffin’s latest successor, Larry Culp, must be feeling similarly about doing the reverse. On April 2nd GE split into two public companies: GE Aerospace, a maker of jet engines, and GE Vernova, a manufacturer of power-generation equipment. A third, GE Healthcare, a medical-devices firm, was spun off in January 2023.

Chart: The Economist

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