General Electric Co. said Sun Microsystems Inc. CEO Scott McNealy and Fiat SpA Chairman Paolo Fresco will step down as directors as the company responds to investor demands that corporate boards be more independent.
General Electric will have a 17-member board as of Jan. 1,
with 11 members fitting its criteria for independence, CEO Jeff
Immelt said. Mr. McNealy's company is a customer, supplier, and financial partner of General Electric, while Mr. Fresco is a former vice chairman. They will leave by the end of 2002. Mr. Immelt wants two-thirds of General Electric's board to be
independent. He pledged to name new members and endorsed New York
Stock Exchange rule changes following scandals at other companies
and criticism that his own board could use more safeguards. (Bloomberg News)
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