Neutron Jack: ‘I quit!’

Welch ends Fortune and Reuters contracts after tough coverage

I’ve long wondered why business magazines run Jack Welch’s columns.

BusinessWeek ran it for years but stopped a month after Bloomberg bought the magazine and installed Josh Tyrangiel as editor. As Tyrangiel later told Capital New York, “There was a lot management guru bullshit, to be honest. A lot of stuff about finding the best you, and I just thought, that’s insulting.” It’s not hard to imagine whom he was talking about.

Welch and wife Suzy have written for Fortune and Reuters since then. No more. The Welches quit today after Fortune published a somewhat tongue-in-cheek piece comparing Welch’s jobs record to Obama’s:

GE lost nearly 100,000 jobs while Welch was at the helm of the company — a tenure that spanned two of the most robust periods of economic growth in American business history. Welch, who along with his wife Suzy has written articles for FORTUNE, took over as CEO of GE in 1981. At the time, the industrial giant had 411,000 employees. When Welch left the company 20 years later, it had just 313,000 employees.

Give Fortune credit for taking it to one of its own columnists. Stephen Gandel notes that managing editor Andy Serwer disputed Welch’s conspiracy theory on MSNBC yesterday too.

And the hardball continues this afternoon with the headline on its post announcing the separation of ways: “Welch can’t take the heat: I quit”

Good for Fortune. Unfortunately for business-press readers, I’d bet good money that Steve Forbes is on the horn with Welch today.

There is a market for “management guru bullshit,” unfortunately. Particularly when that guruspeak is coming from a Neutron Jack worshiped by the press for decades.

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum. Tags: , , , ,