GE taps China CEO to lead Alstom merger

General Electric on Thursday said the head of its China business will transfer to France to lead the US company's proposed buyout of Alstom's energy businesses.

GE taps China CEO to lead Alstom merger
General Electric chairman Jeffrey R. Immelt. Photo: AFP

Mark Hutchinson, president and chief executive of GE Greater China, will be based in Paris to manage the integration of the French industrial company's power and grid businesses, GE said in a statement.

The British national who previously lived in France, according to a company profile, has managed the GE Greater China unit, which employs 18,000 people, for three years.

"Mark has presided over tremendous growth in our China business and has continued to build on our status as a trusted partner, supporting the government's growth priorities,"said John Rice, vice chairman of GE, in a statement.

"His deep knowledge of GE and experience in global markets, make him the right person for this important role."

Hutchinson began his career with the Fairfield, Connecticut-based GE in 1994. He has been involved in a wide range of the company's businesses, and led GE's capital markets team for a decade.

GE named Rachel Duan, the head of GE China Healthcare since 2010, to succeed him as president and CEO of GE Greater China, while also keeping her current responsibilities.

GE won a two-month deeply political battle to buy the energy arm of Alstom in late June, in the face of French government opposition and a rival joint offer from Germany's Siemens and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of Japan.

France agreed to the bid on the condition that, while GE could take the whole of Alstom's gas turbine business,  the government would hold a stake in GE-French joint ventures for Alstom's nuclear, steam turbine, offshore wind and hydro power businesses.

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US giant GE to pay France €50 million after creating just 25 jobs out of 1,000

The French government announced Tuesday that US industrial conglomerate General Electric will pay €50 million ($57 million) after falling short of its goal of creating 1,000 new jobs in the country.

US giant GE to pay France €50 million after creating just 25 jobs out of 1,000
Alstom employees protest in front of the France's Ministry of Finance in Paris. Photo: AFP

GE had pledged to create the jobs by the end of last year as part of its 2015 purchase of the power and electrical grid businesses of France's Alstom.

But shortly after closing the deal GE unveiled a series of job cuts across Europe as slumping oil and gas prices crimped demand for its heavy-duty turbines and other equipment.

The company had already warned last year that it wouldn't meet the target, though the new CEO Larry Culp confirmed in October that GE would “fulfil its commitments.”

It had promised to pay €50,000 for every job not created over the three-year period.

The French finance ministry said after a meeting with GE officials Tuesday that the firm had created just 25 new jobs overall, meaning it would pay €50 million into an industrial development fund.

“GE underscored the significant of its continual investments in France during the period, and noted that despite the particularly difficult business climate, the group had done its utmost to create jobs,” the company said in a statement.

It pointed to a $330 million investment in offshore wind turbines in France announced last year, which it expects to eventually create 550 new jobs.

But union sources said last month that GE was planning to cut nearly 470 jobs, at its Alstom Power Systems GE Energy Power Conversion units.

Under Culp the company has been trying to get its power operations on more solid financial footing, with plans to cut costs further and reduce debt.

Last week it posted a $574 million profit for the fourth quarter, a welcome turnaround from the $11 billion loss a year earlier.