General Electric 's ( GE ) attempts at an image makeover with a slew of cost-cutting measures and executive reshufflings may be signs that things are about to get worse instead of better at the industrial giant.
Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey Bornstein is leaving, adding to an exodus of top executives that began shortly after Chief Executive Officer John Flannery won the top job more than three months ago. He's also expected to outline his plans next month for a potential overhaul of the company's portfolio, which includes jet engines, gas turbines, locomotives and ultrasound machines. When Flannery was chosen to replace Immelt, GE said he and Bornstein would work closely together and granted the finance chief a special retention package.
Miller will take over as CFO starting November 1, with Bornstein, who is also a GE vice chair, leaving December 31. Rice most recently managed GE's Global Growth Organization, which championed GE's efforts in emerging markets, while Comstock led strategy for fledgling growth ventures like Current.
"Flannery wants to tell people that he is going to hold people accountable", Scott Davis, an analyst at Melius Research in NY, wrote on Friday. "He's holding people accountable".
In addition, "both the vice chairs were in roles that probably didn't need to exist", Davis said. GE also announced today in separate press releases that Vice Chair John Rice will retire from the company and Vice Chair Jeff Bornstein will leave the company.
Miller, 49, has also served as GE's chief information officer and chief accounting officer.
However, executives started leaving days after Flannery was named, with the exit of Steve Bolze, the head of the power division.
Flannery is already sending signals that he is serious about paring expenses. New CEO Flannery is quickly demonstrating a decisive management style.
"Not only is the baseline of the now hotly debated "reset" likely lower, but what we think investors are ignoring is the trend line on the businesses, some of which have secular issues (i.e. implications for multiple), a hole that is unlikely to be dug out of with simple cost cuts alone", JPMorgan's Stephen Tusa and his team wrote in a Monday note.