John Francis “Jack” Welch Jr. (born November 19, 1935) is an American business executive, author, and chemical engineer. He was chairman and CEO of General Electric between 1981 and 2001. During his tenure at GE, the company’s value rose 4,000%. In 2006, Welch’s net worth was estimated at $720 million. When he retired from GE he received a severance payment of $417 million, the largest such payment in history.