DAVOS 2011: World Economic Forum

GE Senior Vice President on global economic recovery

Steve Chiotakis Jan 26, 2011
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DAVOS 2011: World Economic Forum

GE Senior Vice President on global economic recovery

Steve Chiotakis Jan 26, 2011
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STEVE CHIOTAKIS: The World Economic Forum opened today in the snowy ski resort of Davos, Switzerland. Political and corporate leaders are talking about free markets and global economic recovery.

One of those corporate representatives joins us now from Davos. Beth Comstock is Senior Vice President of General Electric. Good morning.

BETH COMSTOCK: Good morning.

CHIOTAKIS: What’s your sense of how corporate leaders feel about the global economy? Is it making a comeback?

COMSTOCK: I think the mood is much more optimistic yeah. I think people feel the economy is coming back. I think we would describe it as multi-speed. Meaning, some economies are moving at a much faster pace than others. So the optimism is a bit of a spectrum.

CHIOTAKIS: Where is the U.S. in that multi-speed factor?

COMSTOCK: It’s a slower speed. It’s not the slowest, but it’s a slower speed certainly than China, than India, than Brazil. A big shift for us recently has been to focus much more of our research and technology resources on innovating in a country like India to solve health care problems in India and then ask ourselves, “Where else can we take this idea?” But starting foremost for the challenges in the country.

CHIOTAKIS: President Obama tapped your boss, Jeff Immelt, to head up this new White House Adviser Panel, right? On jobs and competitiveness? Is that a good thing for GE? How does that work into the company’s mantra?

COMSTOCK: Jeff has been involved with President Obama for the past couple of years on his economic advisory board. In Jeff’s mind it was a natural extension to stay involved and to play a role of bringing business together with government.

CHIOTAKIS: Does that paint the company into a corner politically do you think if maybe a Republican comes into the White House?

COMSTOCK: I know we’re not doing this as a political action. Jeff has been very loud and clear in saying, he says he’s a Republican. So this isn’t about politics, it’s about focusing on the economy making sure that America can be competitive in the places it can best be competitive.

CHIOTAKIS: Beth Comstock, Senior Vice President at General Electric. Beth thanks.

COMSTOCK: Thank you.

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