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Top Stories No. 9: GE Power Split Includes GE Hitachi

By Christina Haley O'Neal, posted Dec 14, 2018
GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy holds its headquarters in Wilmington, along with other GE companies such as Global Nuclear Fuel and GE Aviation.
Wilmington-based GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy is among a group of General Electric Corp.’s Power divisions that were part of a split announced this year.

During a third-quarter earnings call in late October, GE Chairman and CEO Larry Culp announced changes to GE’s Power division, which consisted of a spilt into two divisions: GE Gas Power and GE Power Portfolio.

The GE Power Portfolio is made up of GE’s steam, grid solutions and power conversion businesses as well as GE Hitachi. GE Gas Power combined the company’s gas product and services groups. GE also intends to consolidate the power headquarters structure, officials said.

Changes to the company continued after the third-quarter report. In the weeks following the call, the company named new leadership for the power reorganization. Scott Strazik was selected to serve as CEO of the GE Gas Power division. Russell Stokes, who was previously over the entire power division, was named CEO of GE Power Portfolio.

Stokes will “focus on performance improvement to create the most value for customers and GE shareholders,” a corporate spokesman said in late November.

The news of the power split had observers watching to see what the changes could mean for the power units and the Wilmington-based nuclear operations. And financial experts had different opinions on what the changes to the power division might mean for the company.

GE’s Power division faced massive layoffs in late 2017, when the company announced it was cutting 12,000 jobs. Those job cuts did not have a significant impact to GE Hitachi employees, officials said at the time.

But despite the overall company challenges in 2018, the company’s nuclear segment secured several contracts in advancing nuclear technologies and its fuel business this year. Those projects have come in through both GE Hitachi and the nuclear fuel operation, Global Nuclear Fuel, a GE-led joint venture with Hitachi Ltd. and operates primarily through Global Nuclear Fuel-Americas LLC in Wilmington and Global Nuclear Fuel-Japan Co. Ltd. in Japan
GE’s Wilmington campus, which includes the nuclear businesses and GE Aviation, has a combined employment that makes it one of the largest employers in the area. The company employs about 2,800 people locally.

In late November, work was ongoing to solidify the split-up businesses, corporate officials said.

“The leadership announcements are an important step on our proposed plan to create two separate businesses, and Scott and Russell will lead these to businesses respectively. Over the next weeks, various leadership roles will be filled, and organizational blueprints further developed,” GE corporate officials said.

For a list of the Top 10 local business stories of the year, click here.
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