GE Executive Immelt Resigns from New York Fed after ProtestApr 29th, 2011 | By Roy Rasmussen | Category: Business and Finance
General Electric Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt has resigned from his position as a Class B Director on the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s board of directors, effective March 9, the New York Fed announced Thursday. Explaining his decision, Immelt cited increased demands on his time, in particular his recent commitment to serve as Chair of the President’s Jobs and Competitiveness Council.
“I am, with great regret, tendering my resignation as a member of the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York given the increased demands of my time, including as Chair of the President’s Jobs and Competitiveness Council,” Immelt wrote in a resignation letter to Federal Reserve Bank of New York president and chief executive officer William Dudley, dated March 9, 2011. “I have greatly enjoyed my service on the Board and working with you and the superb professionals at the Bank.”
Immelt had served as a director at the New York Fed since January 2006. President Obama announced his appointment to head the President’s Jobs and Competitiveness Council on January 21, 2011. The announcement prompted criticisms by those concerned the appointment risked a conflict of interests between Immelt’s commitment to GE and his new duty to serve the public interest in matters such as corporate tax breaks and foreign policy.
Criticism of Immelt heated up Wednesday with Tea Party groups in Utah organizing a “Fire Jeff Immelt Rally” protest at a GE annual shareholders meeting. Immelt’s critics complained about GE allegedly benefiting from increased fuel prices as a result of lobbying in support of President Obama’s economic stimulus plan and cap-and-trade energy policy. Protestors won Securities and Exchange Commission support in favor of requiring GE to include a business risk disclosure statement to shareholders, advising them that GE’s financial projections about renewable energy profits depend on government support for the Obama administration’s global warming policies. Announcement of Immelt’s resignation from his New York Fed position comes a day after this protest.