Jack Welch's Encore

How GE's chairman is remaking his company--again

It started out simply enough. For years, General ElectricCo. sold CAT scanners, magnetic resonance imagers, and other medical imaging equipment to the 300-plus hospitals run by health-care giant Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. Then in March, 1995, GE persuaded Columbia to let it service all of the chain's imaging equipment, including that made by GE's rivals. And early this year, it added managing virtually all medical supplies to the deal--most of them product lines GE isn't even in.

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