Strategy & Operations » Leadership & Management » GE’s CFO prepares to exit as business prepares for final transformation stage

GE’s CFO prepares to exit as business prepares for final transformation stage

Rahul Ghai will replace Carolina Dybeck Happe in September as GE embarks on its final spinoff project before forging ahead with standalone aeronautical arm

GE’s CFO prepares to exit as business prepares for final transformation stage

Carolina Dybeck Happe has been CFO of General Electric since 2020.

During her time at the industrial conglomerate, she played a crucial role in helping to significantly reduce the business’ debt and improve its financial and operational performance.

She was also the key player in building and executing GE’s latest transformation strategy – its spinoff plans which have seen the creation of three branches of the business.

However, in September 2023, Dybeck Happe will be leaving GE, handing over the reigns to Rahul Ghai. “This is a time of tremendous momentum and accomplishment for GE,” she said in a LinkedIn post on May 18. “It is a privilege to work alongside this extraordinary finance team.”

In her statement, Dybeck Happe took note of the work done to “transform one of the world’s most iconic companies by repairing and strengthening the GE balance sheet”.

Dybeck Happe is expected to remain an SVP at GE for a period to assist with the transition. “This is the right time to make this change as GE progresses toward launching GE Vernova and GE Aerospace as standalone businesses,” GE CEO Larry Culp said in a statement.

GE’s first spinoff was GE HealthCare which went public on January 4, 2023; it produces medical imaging equipment and tech devices. The next spinoff planned is GE Vernova, which houses GE’s energy portfolio; the planned launch is set for early 2024.

That will leave GE Aerospace to continue as the business previously known as GE.

The news of Dybeck Happe’s departure, and the cementation of the business’s spinoff plans, did not surprise investors, with GE’s stock remaining stable at $104.

“Simply stated, the standalone GE Aerospace company should have an aerospace CFO,” wrote RBC Capital Markets analysts Deane Dray and Ken Herbert in a written statement.

“This announcement is another sign that the final separation is on track, as GE approaches its early-2024 separation of GE Vernova, leaving GE Aero [as the remaining company],” they added.

New safe pair of hands

Before joining GE, Dybeck Happe served as CFO of Maersk. Prior to this, she spent 16 years at Assa Abloy, seven of which she spent as CFO.

“Under Carolina’s leadership, GE’s finance teams have become stronger operational partners to our businesses, creating insights to drive performance while deepening our focus on free cash flow,” Culp said on Dybeck Happe’s exit announcement.

GE has paid down more than $100 billion in debt over the past few years, some of it before Dybeck Happe came on board.

“I am grateful for her many contributions that have helped GE regain its strength, and I look forward to working with her in the coming months as we complete the important work of transforming GE,” Culp said.

Ghai has been the CFO of GE Aerospace since August 2022. He will continue to perform this role and his additional GE CFO duties from September 2023 until the planned separation in 2024.

After the spinoff, GE will become known as GE Aerospace, focused on aviation, and Ghai will remain the CFO. Culp will be the CEO of GE Aerospace.

As CFO, Ghai will lead GE’s global finance organisation and financial activities including accounting and controllership, financial planning and analysis, tax, investor relations, internal audit, and treasury.

Before GE, Ghai served in leadership roles including EVP and CFO at Otis Worldwide Corporation and SVP and CFO of Harris Corporation.

On a stronger footing

In April, GE announced double-digit orders and revenue growth in its 2023 first-quarter results. The company reported total revenues of $14.5 billion, with a profit margin of 44.8%.

“In the first quarter, we delivered double-digit top-line growth with all segments up organically and continued strength in services, as well as margin expansion in all segments,” Culp said.

“And we reported our first positive free cash flow in the first quarter in nearly a decade.”

In her own statement, Dybeck Happe said cash flow had improved by more than a billion dollars over the last year, reflecting the GE teams’ “intense focus instilling disciplined processes to enhance linearity and eliminate waste”.

She said that continuing to deliver sustainably better cash flow linearity, including more linear deliveries, is one of the most important priorities for her team.


Was this article helpful?

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to get your daily business insights