No. 4 David Calhoun (Vice Chairman, President, and CEO): General Electric
Fortune magazine picked Calhoun as their top choice Rising Star for 2006, leading the pack of America’s next generation of leaders. As the head of GE’s biggest business unit, GE Infrastructure, he was responsible for $47 billion in revenues4, and was a close confidant of Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt. A 27-year GE veteran, firms such as Boeing and 3M unsuccessfully attempted to lure Calhoun from GE; however, Dutch media firm VNU NV was able to, offering him a compensation package exceeding $100 million. Can this be a signal of a larger trend for public firm executives? Will they jump ship to private-equity controlled companies, in order to avoid investor scrutiny and the short-term demands of quarterly earnings expectations? Signs point to yes.