GE Forms Digital Unit to Expand $6 Billion Software Business

General Electric Co. formed a new division overseeing its software and analytics operations as the industrial manufacturer looks to fashion itself as a tech-savvy company.

GE Digital will combine its Silicon Valley software center, information technology and industrial security operations, GE said Monday. The new unit "will make GE a digital show site and grow our software and analytics enterprise from $6 billion in 2015 to a top 10 software company by 2020," Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt said in a statement.

GE has been expanding its big data business, dubbed the Industrial Internet, alongside manufacturing operations making products spanning jet engines, oilfield equipment and gas turbines. Immelt is shedding GE’s vast lending arm and selling the home-appliances division while focusing on heavy-duty machinery and associated analytics.

Bill Ruh, GE’s chief digital officer, will run the new unit. He has led GE’s software center, a 1,200-employee operation in San Ramon, California, since 2011, the company said.

GE also said Russell Stokes will become CEO of GE Energy Management, succeeding Mark Begor, who’s retiring. Jamie Miller, previously chief information officer, will fill Stokes’ old post as head of GE Transportation.

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