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Westinghouse gives insight into GE issues

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionAs a native of the Schenectady area and an employee of Westinghouse Electric Corp. during the 1980s and 1990s, I have been interested to read the recent series of articles about the history of General Electric, particularly during in that period. Mark Markovitz and others have described in these pages the negative impact that Jack Welch had on the industrial prowess of GE. His impact on industrial America extends well beyond GE, and the closest parallel could be his impact on Westinghouse.Both companies pursued the same strategy in the 1980s and 1990s, selling off manufacturing businesses and putting the proceeds into financial services. The strategy was successful for a time, generating revenue without investment in capital equipment, R&D, or a large, unionized work force.For Westinghouse, the day of reckoning came in 1991, with a number of non-performing loans related to commercial real estate. There was no government bailout for Westinghouse. Westinghouse had to bail itself out, setting in motion a series of events that led to the complete disintegration of the company by the end of the 1990s. Most of those businesses live on as parts of other companies, many foreign-owned.With the recent exception of the nuclear power business, most are successful under their current owners.The details are described in a series of articles, “Who Killed Westinghouse?” by Steve Casey, in the 1997 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and available at http://old.post-gazette.com/westinghouse.You might say that Jack Welch brought to a close the rivalry between the two companies that started when George Westinghouse championed alternating current and Thomas Edison championed direct current. Eric SchochCatonsville, MarylandMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censuslast_img

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