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GE makes 3 director nominations ahead of board revamp

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GE makes 3 director nominations ahead of board revamp

General Electric Co. announced three new nominees to its board of directors, including the former chairman of the organization that sets accounting standards in the U.S., ahead of an annual shareholder meeting on April 25.

GE named H. Lawrence Culp Jr., Thomas Horton and Leslie Seidman as the new candidates for its board, which will be reduced to 12 directors from 17.

Culp was CEO and president of industrial giant Danaher Corp., and Horton served as chairman and CEO of American Airlines Group Inc. Seidman chaired the Financial Accounting Standards Board.

Eight directors will not stand for re-election, according to GE Lead Director Jack Brennan. These include QUALCOMM Inc. CEO Steven Mollenkopf, Unilever Plc board chairman and former Bayer AG CEO Marijn Dekkers, and former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Schapiro.

Brennan will keep his current role to facilitate the transition but will not stand for re-election in 2019, GE said.

The Boston-based industrial conglomerate is revamping its board as it considers whether to break itself up. The move also comes amid an SEC investigation into the company's accounting practices after GE said it will take a $6.2 billion charge for its fourth quarter of 2017 related to its insurance business.

"The 2018 board slate aligns the board with the future of the company," Brennan said. "The smaller board will also help to promote the heightened engagement and sense of accountability that we want to drive at every level of the company."

In a letter to shareholders, GE Chief Executive John Flannery said the company was making "significant changes" after a "very tough" 2017.

"[H]ow the company is being portrayed in certain quarters is overwrought and, in most cases, does not reflect the reality of GE that our customers and employees are seeing around the world," Flannery said.

On Feb. 23, the company said its restated profits for 2016 and 2017 will be cut by about 13 cents per share and 16 cents per share, respectively, as it adopts new accounting standards for 2018.