GE Directors Buy Up Slumping Shares Ahead of Board Winnowing

Harris Associates' Murray Says GE Is on the Right Track

General Electric Co. plans to slash the size of its bloated board, but that isn’t stopping some directors from buying in.

Francisco D’Souza, a board member since 2013 and the head of Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp., bought 55,000 GE shares for $986,700, according to a regulatory filing Monday. His purchase was the latest by a director after a $1.1 million buy on Nov. 15 by John Flannery, the chairman and chief executive officer, and Steven Mollenkopf’s decision to grab $100,000 of shares the following day.

The company leaders are placing substantial bets on Flannery’s ability to reverse a deep slump in the shares, which have fallen 43 percent this year as GE contends with challenges in the power-generation and oil markets. In addition to cutting the dividend and unloading at least $20 billion in assets, the CEO plans to kick out half the company’s 18 directors while bringing on three new representatives.

The company hasn’t said who will go as part of a purge that will reduce the board size to 12 members.

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