UPDATE 1-GE's Immelt may exit before expected tenure ends - WSJ

Tue Apr 15, 2014 3:14am EDT

(Adds GE comment)

April 15 (Reuters) - General Electric Co's Chief Executive Jeff Immelt may step down sooner than his expected 20-year tenure, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the company's thinking.

Immelt, who has been at the helm of the industrial conglomerate since 2001, has led several board discussions about shortening the expected tenure for GE's next chief executive to between 10 and 15 years, the Journal said. (r.reuters.com/xek58v)

Among the leading candidates identified to succeed Immelt are Lorenzo Simonelli, who took over the leadership of GE's oil and gas unit last year; and Steve Bolze, who leads power and water, GE's biggest unit, the newspaper said.

GE spokesman Gary Sheffer said the company does not comment on speculations. "The GE board routinely discusses succession planning, which is a key part of its responsibilities," he said in an email response to Reuters.

The company said last month Immelt holds 1.96 million of GE shares. The CEO is the largest insider stakeholder, according to Thomson Reuters data, though his stake trails far behind those of the large institutional holders of GE stock. (Reporting by Supriya Kurane in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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