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GE CEO Immelt may step down before his 20-year tenure ends: WSJ

Jeff Immelt, Chairman and CEO of General Electric appears at a news conference announcing the Head Health Initiative along with the National
Jeff Immelt, Chairman and CEO of General Electric appears at a news conference announcing the Head Health Initiative along with the National

(Reuters) - General Electric Co's Chief Executive Jeff Immelt may step down sooner than his expected 20-year tenure, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the company's thinking.

Immelt, who has been at the helm of the industrial conglomerate since 2001, has led several board discussions about shortening the expected tenure for GE's next chief executive to between 10 and 15 years, the Journal said. (http://r.reuters.com/xek58v)

Among the leading candidates identified to succeed Immelt are Lorenzo Simonelli, who took over the leadership of GE's oil and gas unit last year; and Steve Bolze, who leads power and water, GE's biggest unit, the newspaper said.

GE was not immediately available for comment outside regular U.S. business hours.

The company said last month Immelt holds 1.96 million of GE shares. The CEO is the largest insider stakeholder, according to Thomson Reuters data, though his stake trails far behind those of the large institutional holders of GE stock.

(Reporting by Supriya Kurane in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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