In Conversation with Outgoing General Electric Chair Jeffrey Immelt

The U.S. economy and presidency, globalization and trade in the Asia Pacific, and new opportunities for Canada in the current geopolitical context. These were just some of the wide-ranging topics touched upon in an Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada-hosted conversation with outgoing General Electric Chair and CEO Jeffrey Immelt in Vancouver.

The globe-hopping CEO, the ninth and recently-retired chair of GE, has been named one of the ‘World's Best CEOs’ three times by Barron's, and since he began serving as CEO in 2001, GE has been named ‘America's Most Admired Company’ in a poll conducted by Fortune magazine, and one of ‘The World's Most Respected Companies’ in polls by both Barron's and The Financial Times.

APF Canada President and CEO Stewart Beck moderated an informal discussion before an audience of British Columbia business and political leaders, and other distinguished guests. To view APF Canada’s two videos from the May 9, 2017 event, click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2.

Canada's Moment . . .

The outgoing GE chair offered some sage advice on how Canada can take advantage of this particular period in history, recommending that Canada leverage its open immigration policies and reputation as a sophisticated global thinker. He argued that Canada could be a real talent hub and a hub for skills-based innovation. More specifically on healthcare innovation, he suggested that Canada could export its own expertise through doctors’ associations, consulting, and connections through universities and institutions. In the context of Asia, he noted that Canada has a clear shot at clean-tech, aviation, health care and software, and that more and deeper connections should be made between universities and venture communities throughout the Asia Pacific. He also suggested that Canada should have a national plan on Asia, and ultimately recommended that Canada focus on one specific project and drive it to conclusion as a national imperative.