Wall Street's Bitter Lessons For Ge

No surprises. That's what General Electric Co. Chief Executive Officer John F. Welch Jr. expects from his troops. But in April, Welch received a surprise on a par with Pearl Harbor. That's when lieutenants at GE's Kidder, Peabody & Co. unit brought the bad news that an errant trader, Joseph Jett, had rolled up, over 30 months, such a huge volume of fictitious trading profits in government securities that GE had to report a $350 million pretax loss.

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