GE Revamps Finance Leadership as Manufacturing Shift Nears Goal

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  • Sherin to retire after pushing to shrink GE Capital unit
  • Company names new head for merger-and-acquisition team

General Electric Co. named new heads for its finance and M&A operations as the company prepares for life as a more-focused industrial manufacturer.

Richard Laxer, who runs GE Capital International, will take over as chief executive officer of GE Capital this week, the company said Tuesday in a statement. Departing unit CEO Keith Sherin, who also serves as vice chairman of the parent company, will retire at year-end. 

Aris Kekedjian, who ran the asset sale and acquisition efforts for GE Capital, will assume that role for all of GE, the company said in a separate statement.

The moves come as GE winds down a monumental plan to shrink its finance business while refocusing on manufacturing heavy-duty equipment, such as gas turbines and jet engines. CEO Jeffrey Immelt said in April 2015 that the company would sell about $200 billion of lending assets while retaining only the units that support its industrial divisions.

After selling the bulk of its U.S. operations, GE won regulatory approval in June to drop its designation as a too-big-to-fail financial institution -- relieving the company of the burdens of heavy regulatory oversight -- one of the goals of the overhaul. With just a few small businesses left to sell, the Boston-based company said it is reorienting what remains of GE Capital around three central businesses: aircraft financing, energy-focused lending and GE Industrial Finance, which will support other GE operations.

Sherin, 57, has been with GE for 35 years, including 15 years as chief financial officer. He was instrumental in pushing the company to consider shedding the bulk of GE Capital, which investors had come to dislike, particularly after the volatility of the financial crisis. Under Sherin’s leadership, Kekedjian led the team that disposed of GE Capital’s assets.

Laxer, 55, has held various roles within GE Capital since joining the company in 1984. He has led the unit’s international operations since 2009.

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