What I Need to See from General Electric's New CEO

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On my desk in my office here at Money Map Press is a yellowed newspaper clipping from mid-November 1997 – a Page 1A story featuring my byline.

I’ve kept this clipping for all these years because it was the last big “scoop” that I got for Gannett Newspapers in Rochester – right before I left for a job here in Baltimore.

I’d been covering the corporate flailing of the once-great Eastman Kodak Co. (NYSE: KODK) for nearly five years – a journalistic vision quest that took me from Upstate New York to Silicon Valley, Hollywood, Japan, and even China.

General ElectricThe story that I broke that November was about a soon-to-be-announced corporate “restructuring” – a $1 billion, 10,000-layoff costcutting plan that Kodak was planning to share with Wall Streeters at a New York “event” the following Tuesday.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but what I’d really written… was Kodak’s epitaph.

The company’s prospects had seemed much better four years earlier, after a huge shake-up at the top.

I still remember that brighter moment, when I was seated in the executive offices on the top floor of Kodak Tower in Rochester, N.Y.

Across the conference table from me was George M.C. Fisher, Kodak’s just-appointed CEO and a vaunted “fix it” guy who was the first-ever outsider to lead the company.

I was there to interview Fisher. The topic on the table: the film giant’s possible turnaround.

I was sitting in the room with a very shrewd executive, brought in from “outside” to right the ship…

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About the Author

Before he moved into the investment-research business in 2005, William (Bill) Patalon III spent 22 years as an award-winning financial reporter, columnist, and editor. Today he is the Executive Editor and Senior Research Analyst for Money Morning. With his latest project, Private Briefing, Bill takes you “behind the scenes” of his established investment news website for a closer look at the action. Members get all the expert analysis and exclusive scoops he can’t publish… and some of the most valuable picks that turn up in Bill’s closed-door sessions with editors and experts.

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