Elyse Allan, General Electric Canada Inc.’s long-serving president and CEO and one of Canada’s most prominent female executives, is retiring from the company in the midst of a major reorganization at the company’s U.S. parent.
A spokeswoman for GE Canada said Ms. Allan, 60, will step down at the end of this month, ending 14 years in the corner office at the Canadian unit. Ms. Allan will be succeeded by Heather Chalmers, who currently heads up GE Canada’s health care division.
Ms. Allan’s departure comes as the company’s U.S. parent undertakes a major reorganization under John Flannery, who took over as CEO 11 months ago. On Tuesday, Mr. Flannery announced that the company would spin off its health care operation and sell its Baker Hughes oil services company – the latest steps in Mr. Flannery’s efforts to dramatically narrow the focus of the industrial conglomerate.
Ms. Allan was not immediately available for comment. GE Canada spokeswoman Karissa Boley said Ms. Allan has been quietly planning a July 1 retirement for months, and her departure is unconnected to the current corporate overhaul.
But Tuesday’s announced departures from Baker Hughes and the health care business will certainly have a substantial impact on GE Canada. Baker Hughes has about 1,700 Canadian staff, while GE Healthcare has about 500 employees in Canada.
Ms. Boley said it’s not yet entirely clear how the parent company’s planned exit from those businesses will affect GE Canada’s operations and staff.
“We’re still figuring that out. That’s kind of a work in progress,” she said.
Ms. Allan, originally from suburban New York, joined GE in 1984 and transferred to the Canadian operation in 1988. She left GE to serve as a marketing executive at Ontario Hydro and then spent a decade as president and CEO of the Toronto Board of Trade, before returning to GE Canada as CEO in 2004.
An active member of business and community organizations and a vocal proponent of Canadian innovation and competitiveness, Ms. Allan has served on economic advisory councils for both the former federal Conservative government and the current Liberal government. In 2014, she was awarded the Order of Canada, in recognition of her business and community leadership.
Ms. Chalmers, a 23-year veteran of GE, has been in charge of the Canadian health care business since 2014.