General Electric said on Monday that its chairman and chief executive, Jeffrey R. Immelt would retire at the end of the year in a leadership shift for the industrial giant, and be replaced by the top executive in its health care business.
John Flannery, 55, the president and chief executive of GE Healthcare, will become chief executive of the conglomerate on Aug. 1, with Mr. Immelt, 61, remaining as chairman until he retires on Dec. 31. Mr. Flannery will add the role of chairman on Jan. 1.
The changes come 16 years after Mr. Immelt replaced Jack Welch, G.E.’s legendary chairman and chief executive, and as the company has sought to return its focus on its industrial roots after years of expansion into finance.
“During this time of dynamic global markets and relentless focus on technology and operational excellence, there is no better person to lead G.E. than John Flannery,” Jack Brennan, the company’s lead independent director, said in a news release. “He brings unique experience and a strong skill set to the job.”
G.E. also said that Jeff Bornstein, its chief financial officer, would be promoted to vice chairman.
Mr. Flannery has been with G.E. for 30 years, beginning at GE Capital with a focus on evaluating risk for leveraged buyouts. He has held other posts across the wider conglomerate, running its corporate restructuring and workout group, leading its GE Equity business and working with GE Capital in Latin America and Asia.
In 2013, he took over business development at the corporate level, where he was involved in G.E.’s acquisition of Alstom, the shrinking of GE Capital and the sale of GE Appliances. Mr. Flannery joined GE Healthcare in 2014, overseeing a turnaround of that business, the company said.
“John is the right person to lead G.E. today. He has broad experience across multiple businesses, cycles and geographies,” Mr. Immelt said in the company statement. “He has a track record of success and led one of our most essential businesses.”
Mr. Immelt has navigated crises during his tenure as G.E.’s top executive, which began just a few days before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States.
He steered G.E. through the global financial crisis and oversaw the sale of the bulk of its sprawling finance arm, GE Capital. G.E. has focused on its industrial businesses, but retained some financing operations that related directly to those businesses.
In March, G.E. said that it would seek to reduce costs and improve profit in its industrial arm as it faced pressure from Trian Fund Management, which is run by the billionaire investor Nelson Peltz. Trian took a big stake in G.E. two years ago.
G.E. also said it would seek to link bonuses for senior managers to achieving those cost-cutting and profitability goals.
Shares of G.E. rose nearly 4 percent in premarket trading in New York on Monday.