September 14, 2015 / 5:10 PM / in 4 years

GE forms digital unit, says energy management head to retire

The logo of General Electric is pictured at the 26th World Gas Conference in Paris, France, June 2, 2015. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

(Reuters) - General Electric Co said on Monday it would bring its software and IT capabilities under one unit called GE Digital and announced a broader management shuffle, including the retirement of the head of its energy management division.

GE, which under Chief Executive Jeff Immelt has made a big bet on marrying software and analytics with its industrial products, will bring all of the digital capabilities from across the company into one organization, it said.

Bill Ruh, who joined GE from Cisco Systems in 2011 and helped ramp up GE’s software efforts, will become the company’s chief digital officer.

Immelt said in a statement that the new organization would “accelerate our efforts to build GE’s digital strength.” GE, which is projecting $6 billion in revenue from software and analytics this year, is aiming to be a top 10 software company by 2020, Immelt said. That is up from 15th currently, according to a GE spokeswoman.

The company, which had nearly $150 billion in revenue last year, is holding its annual conference touting its digital business and capabilities, known as “Minds & Machines,” later this month in San Francisco.

The U.S. conglomerate also announced that Mark Begor, GE’s head of energy management, would retire after 35 years with the company. Begor, 57, whom RBC Capital analyst Deane Dray recently dubbed the company’s internal “Mr. Fix-It”, had been leading a drive to improve the energy management unit’s lagging profit margins and previously ran GE Capital’s real estate business.

Energy management is set to expand to $13 billion in revenue from $7.3 billion last year with GE’s impending acquisition of the power grid business from France’s Alstom; only last week Begor touted the deal’s benefits at an RBC Capital investor conference.

Russell Stokes, GE’s transportation chief, will take over energy management. Under the 44-year-old Stokes, GE Transportation, which had $5.7 billion in revenue last year, has been launching a locomotive that is designed to meet new emission standards.

Jamie Miller, 47, GE’s chief information officer, will take over as head of transportation. The moves are effective Oct. 1.

Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf; Editing by Dan Grebler and Christian Plumb

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