March 3: Former General Electric Company chairman and CEO Jack Welch Jr, whose death was reported on March 2, revolutionised the role of the in-house law department during his 20 years as CEO, according to several former GE colleagues. 

Welch’s focus on recruiting top-tier legal talent and desire to work with regulators to clean up corporate messes helped change the role of lawyers inside and outside of GE. Welch—who was once married to former Shearman & Sterling M&A lawyer Jane Beasley (the couple divorced in 2003)—saw the value in adding and promoting in-house talent. 

He personally interviewed all top legal hires, many of whom would eventually move into prominent business-side roles, either at GE or elsewhere.

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