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GE CFO Keith Sherin To Take Over As Chairman And CEO Of Finance Unit

Diversified conglomerate General Electric Co. (GE) announced Wednesday the appointment of long time Chief Financial Officer Keith Sherin as the Chairman and CEO of its financial arm GE Capital, effective July 1, 2013. Sherin will succeed Mike Neal, who is retiring after 34 years with GE.

The company also named GE Capital CFO Jeff Bornstein to succeed Sherin as CFO of GE, also effective July 1, 2013. Bornstein, aged 47, joined GE in 1989 and has been CFO of GE Capital since 2008. He has also worked in other GE divisions like aircraft engine services and plastics in senior financial positions.

The appointment of Sherin will put a veteran executive in charge of GE Capital as it prepares to face greater regulatory oversight. Sherin, aged 54, has been GE's CFO for the past 14 years since 1998, and a vice chairman since 2007. He has also been a member of the GE Capital board for 14 years.

"Keith is one of the most respected CFOs in the world. He is a trusted colleague and a smart business partner. As a vice chairman of GE, he has played an integral role in defining our growth strategy, implementing our compliance programs and delivering value to our shareowners," GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt said in a statement.

Sherin joined GE in 1981 and became the company's CFO in 1998, when his predecessor, Dennis Dammerman, took over as CEO of GE Capital from Gary Wendt. Sherin has held senior financial positions in GE businesses including Aviation, Plastics and Medical Systems.

"His deep understanding of Capital's people and operations will make him a strong leader for this business. Keith's appointment underscores the importance of GE Capital to GE," Immelt added.

GE Capital by itself would reportedly be the country's fifth-largest commercial bank, with nearly $530 billion in assets. The unit came under the tighter regulatory oversight of the Federal Reserve two years ago. Earlier this week, U.S. financial regulators proposed labeling GE Capital as "systemically important," a step that would bring tougher capital and liquidity requirements.

GE Capital is one of the five major units of GE and provides commercial lending and leasing, as well as a range of financial services for health care, media, communications, entertainment, consumers, real estate, and aviation. However, investors have been pressing GE to shrink GE Capital in the wake of the financial crisis, and instead focus on expanding the company's industrial businesses.

GE'S CEO Immelt has shrunk GE Capital by about one-third, but the unit still accounted for about 46 percent of GE's earnings from continuing operations last year. Immelt has pledged to further reduce the size of the financing business by selling or spinning off more assets.

In late May, GE said that GE Capital has approved $6.5 billion in dividends to the parent company for fiscal 2013. GE Capital also plans $4.5 billion in special dividends to GE during the year, subject to approvals.

In Wednesday's regular trading session, GE is currently trading at $23.65, up $0.07 or 0.30% on a volume of 1.61 million shares.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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