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Jack Welch, the GE chief who became a superstar, has died

Welch became one of the nation's most well-known and highly regarded corporate leaders during his two decades as GE's chairman and chief executive.
Credit: AP
FILE - In this Oct. 22, 2013 file photo, former Chairman and CEO of General Electric Jack Welch appears on CNBC on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Welch, who transformed General Electric Co. into a highly profitable multinational conglomerate and parlayed his legendary business acumen into a retirement career as a corporate leadership guru, has died at the age of 84. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Jack Welch, who transformed General Electric into a highly profitable multinational conglomerate, has died. He was 84. 

Welch's wife, Suzy, told the New York Times the cause of death was renal failure. 

Welch became one of the nation's most well-known and highly regarded corporate leaders during his two decades as GE's chairman and chief executive, from 1981 to 2001. He personified the so-called “cult of the CEO” during the late-1990s boom, when GE's soaring stock price made it the most valuable company in the world.

Welch's results-driven management approach and hands-on style were credited with helping GE turn a financial corner, although some of the success came at the expense of thousands of employees who lost their jobs in Welch's relentless efforts to cut costs and rid GE of unprofitable businesses.