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GE Hires Maersk CFO Carolina Dybeck Happe as New CFO—Update

By Thomas Gryta 

General Electric Co. said it hired an executive at A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S as its next chief financial officer, tapping another outsider to help the American conglomerate turn around its operations.

Carolina Dybeck Happe, who has been the Danish shipping giant's finance chief less than a year, will join GE in early 2020. Previously, she spent 16 years at Assa Abloy AB, a Swedish maker of doors and locks for homes and businesses and loading dock equipment. She succeeds Jamie Miller, who had been GE's CFO for about two years and will leave the company after the transition.

GE CEO Larry Culp, the first outsider to run the conglomerate, said in July he was looking to hire a new finance chief. The company is trying to turn around its business after two difficult years that forced it to slash its dividend and shed businesses.

The CFO change comes while GE's accounting practices are under investigation by the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Wall Street analysts long suspected that Mr. Culp, who took over in October 2018, would want to have his own CFO in place, but Ms. Miller held on for more than a year before her boss decided to make a change.

The timing of her departure raised some eyebrows because GE announced the change without having a successor ready to step up, an unusual move at a company once known for its elite management development and deep bench of capable of executives.

Ms. Miller was the first woman in the CFO role at GE. She was promoted into the job in October 2017 after former CFO Jeff Bornstein abruptly announced his retirement. Within weeks, GE slashed its financial forecasts and its dividend as problems in its power business and financial services arm came to light. Within months, GE revealed a $15 billion hole in its legacy insurance holdings and the regulatory probes.

"Jamie Miller walked into an impossible situation when given the job," said Melius Research analyst Scott Davis when her departure was announced in July. "But textbook turnarounds almost always include a new finance staff."

Write to Thomas Gryta at thomas.gryta@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 25, 2019 07:28 ET (12:28 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.