Founder: Thomas Alva Edison
Industry: Consumer Electronics, Aviation, and Media & Entertainment
The birth of the incandescent light bulb in 1876 from the laboratory of Thomas Edison, an inventor from Ohio, prompted him to further study in the field of electronics.
By 1890, Edison had amassed all his businesses and organized them to form the Edison General Electric Company. Prior to Edison’s company however, Elihu Thomson and Edwin J. Houston had already formed the Thomson-Houston Electric Company in 1879. Both companies became dominant in the field of electrical industry. However, as their businesses grew, it became increasingly difficult to create electrical devices that depended solely on their own technologies.
By 1892, these two companies joined in a merger prepared by financier J.P. Morgan, to establish the General Electric Company. Its headquarters was stationed in Schenectady, New York.
General Electric was one of the original 12 companies included in the then newly-formed Dow Jones Industrial Average and has remained in the list until now (the only original company left on the list).
General Electric also went beyond electronics and pursued investments in media broadcasting and aviation. In 1919, GE founded the Radio Corporation of America to expand their ventures in the international radio industry. GE also endeavored in television ventures by reacquiring RCA for NBC in 1986. The company also purchased Vivendi’s movies and television franchises in 2004. GE was also involved in the development of US aviation by creating the first US jet engine in 1942. GE Aviations is now part of GE Infrastructure, a subsidiary of General Electric.
Listed below are some of the subsidiaries of General Electric:
- GE Commercial Finance – products and services offered are real estate services, floor plan financing, and car fleet management.
- GE Industrial – offers a wide array of products including appliances, electronic devices, lighting equipments, industrial products and factory management and automation systems.
- GE Consumer Finance – provides financial services such as personal loans, bankcards, private labeling credit cards, auto loans, and mortgages.
- Jeffrey R. Immelt – General Electric CEO, 2001 – Present
- Ferdinando “Nani” Beccalli-Falco – President & Chief Executive Officer, International
- Kathryn A. Cassidy – Vice President and Treasurer, GE
- Beth Comstock – Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Office, GE
- Shane Fitzsimmons – Vice President, GE Corporate Financial Planning and Analysis
- Mark M. Little – Senior Vice President and Director, GE Global Research
Trivia: General Electric is a one of the Worldwide Partners of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.