Excerpted from the Los Angeles Times:
Name: Jeffrey Immelt
Job: Chairman and chief executive officer, General Electric Co. A 22-year veteran of the company, Immelt is the ninth chairman in GE’s 126-year history. He succeeded Jack Welch on Sept. 7, 2001.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics from Dartmouth College; an MBA from Harvard University.
Board affiliations: Immelt is a director of Catalyst, an organization that is devoted to advancing women in business; and Robin Hood, which is focused on addressing poverty in New York City.
Family: Wife, Andrea. The couple has a daughter, Sarah.
Beyond the boardroom:
You mentioned you’re on the road half the time traveling for business; does your family ever join you?
Sometimes, but you know, with a daughter in high school — she’s playing soccer, lacrosse and all that stuff, so it’s tough. And by now, it’s what we’re used to as a family. If I was home every night, I think she’d be saying: “Hey, Dad, could you get out of here? You’re making us nervous.”
Where do you do your best strategic thinking?
I like to go to the office on Saturday mornings. The phone’s not ringing, and I can think and catch up on the week.
You said you like to exercise in the morning — any other ways that you recharge your batteries?
My only real hobby is golf. I enjoy it, but I’m not great at it. And I like to read, especially when I’m traveling. But exercise is important as well.
You read fiction?
Everything. I read biographies, business books, fiction, a little bit of everything. I would say I probably read 50 books a year.
What’s the oddest book you’ve read recently?
Hmmm … You know, it’s funny. My daughter was reading “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,” which brought me back to my youth. I picked it up and read a couple of chapters just for old time’s sake. That’s probably the oddest thing I’ve read recently.
I wish I had more time. More time to spend with my family, more time to see GE employees. I’m fighting for time — all the time.
Favorite vacation spot?
South Carolina. We go there as a family. It’s just a great place to recharge my batteries.
If I wasn’t the chairman of GE, I’d be …
A teacher. I love working with people, and I love teaching.
If you had to disconnect from everything, what would you do?
If I’m really trying to disconnect — if I’ve had a bad day — I’d probably get in my car and drive home and listen to the Allman Brothers Band on full volume. I’m pretty much set in 1970s rock music, so that would be the way I’d come back down to earth a little bit.