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GE brings in shipper Maersk’s CFO as finance chief

Boston - General Electric on Monday named finance head at shipper AP Moller-Maersk as its new chief financial officer in the latest top-level change aimed at turning around the U.S. industrial conglomerate

Boston - General Electric on Monday named finance head at shipper AP Moller-Maersk as its new chief financial officer in the latest top-level change aimed at turning around the U.S. industrial conglomerate.

Carolina Dybeck Happe will start in early 2020 and replaces Jamie Miller, whose departure was announced earlier this year as new Chief Executive Officer Larry Culp seeks to simplify operations and generate cash after booking billions of dollars in losses.

The company has been struggling with the fallout of a series of poor long-term financial bets, driving its share price as low as $6.4 last December from highs above $50 in 2000. GE’s aviation business has also come under pressure from the worldwide grounding of Boeing’s (BA.N) 737 MAX, for which it makes engines.

The company is betting on Happe’s experience at Maersk, where her focus was on lowering costs, as it looks to stabilize its power business, which has long been a drag on earnings. “The extent of the changes which are underway at the managerial and board level over the past 12-18 months bode well for a possible turnaround in the company’s culture, and eventually, in the operations,” Barclays analysts said in a note. The analysts added that while Happe does not have much experience of highly levered turnarounds, her focus while working with Culp will likely be on improving margins and cash flow.

Maersk is still trying to find a firm footing more than three years after announcing a new strategy that would see it sell-off its oil and gas business and focus entirely on container and logistics services. Shares of GE were marginally up in early trading, while those of Maersk were slightly down.

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