When former Navy commander turned GE veteran Max York took the role of GE Australia chief only last October, it was hardly a secret. But his departure couldn’t have been more quiet.
We heard murmurs that he had suddenly left the business a few days back. But oddly, he was still listed as CEO on GE’s website, whose news section made no mention of his departure.
His leaving was finally confirmed by GE on Monday night, when we were sent a statement by no less a figure than GE Asia Pacific HR head David Arkell, referring to the transformation plan unveiled last month by GE global chief John Flannery, a key focus of which is “is the shift of centre of gravity to the GE businesses”. “As a result of this plan, the role of country CEO has been restructured in Australia and Max York has left GE.”
This plan has been announced in the US. Flannery has decided to shrink GE’s eight business unit’s to four, while radically shrinking its bureaucracy. Which, an ocean away, seems to mean GE Australia will operate without a CEO. It’s not clear to us if any other changes are in store.
York, whose sister Sophie is the lead Senate candidate in New South Wales for Cory Bernardi’s Australian Conservatives, took over the CEO role only nine months ago from Geoff Culbert, who had left to run Sydney Airport. Culbert evidently timed his departure well.