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GE Releases "Remembering Dennis Dammerman" Honoring Former Executive

July 25, 2013, 07:04 AM
Filed Under: Industry News

GE released the following eulogy in honor of Dennis Dammerman, the youngest CFO in GE history, who passed away this week at the age of 67.

In 1982, a math graduate with a fresh MBA from Harvard walked into the office of a young GE executive named Dennis Dammerman for a job interview. “He was the best guy I saw that day,” Dammerman remembered in a book. He was so impressed by the candidate’s poise that he sent his job application straight to the managers. He did not want it to “get lost in the mix.”

Dennis Dammerman was the youngest CFO in GE history and one of Jeff Immelt’s mentors.
The job seeker was Jeff Immelt, now GE chairman and CEO. Dammerman, who in 1984 became the youngest CFO in GE history, became one of Immelt’s key mentors. Dammerman spent 38 years with GE as an executive, board member and vice chairman, until his retirement in 2005. His family said that he died this week. He was 67.

“I will always be grateful to Dennis for the time he took to help me when I became CEO,” Immelt said in a note to employees. “He was a great mentor, coach and partner. He had keen business acumen and sound judgment. He was tough-minded and direct but also incredibly generous with his time and advice. There were many times when I faced tough decisions that I knew that Dennis would have the right answer.”
Dammerman joined GE in 1967, after graduating from the University of Dubuque. He served as a financial executive in several GE businesses, including GE Appliances, GE Lighting and GE Capital. He was just 38 years old when Jack Welch chose him to be GE’s chief financial officer.

“Dennis set the gold standard for financial leadership development,” said Keith Sherin, GE vice chairman, and chairman and CEO of GE Capital. Sherin succeeded Dammerman as CFO of GE in 1998. “He trained an entire generation of GE financial leaders, and we all owe him a debt of gratitude.”
In 1994, Dammerman stepped into the role of Chairman and CEO of the investment firm Kidder Peabody and steered it through a difficult transition. He stayed on as GE CFO during this period.
Dammerman left the CFO post in 1998 to lead GE Capital. “Dennis was a terrific friend and one of the smartest people I’ve ever met,” said Mike Neal, former chairman and CEO of GE Capital.
In 1998, CFO magazine gave Dammerman the first-ever “Lifetime Achievement Award for CFO Excellence.” The editors wrote that the award recognized “someone who, over the course of his tenure has effectively changed the perception of what finance is and what it can be, and who is universally respected and admired by his peers.”
Dammerman was elected to GE’s board of directors in 1994. He later became the board’s vice chairman.

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