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Mar 22, 2024

GE general counsel departing as spin-off nears

Michael Holston has been closely involved in the separation of GE into three independent companies

Michael Holston, senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary of General Electric Company (GE), is preparing to leave the firm as it approaches the completion of its spin-off transactions.

GE in 2021 revealed its plan to form three independent public companies focused on aviation, healthcare and energy. GE HealthCare was spun off last year. GE announced Holston’s departure in its latest proxy statement, stating it was agreed ‘[i]n anticipation of the planned spin-off of GE Vernova in early April 2024’ and that he became retirement-eligible in April 2023. Holston will leave the company in early April, a spokesperson confirms. 

Holston was appointed to his current role in 2018 and leads GE’s global legal, compliance & ethics and environment health & safety organizations. He joined the company from Merck & Co, where he was most recently executive vice president, general counsel and chief compliance officer.

Michael Holston
Michael Holston

Before his time at Merck, Holston was executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary at what was then The Hewlett-Packard Company. Earlier in his career he was a prosecutor in the criminal division of the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

According to GE’s proxy statement, Holston led the legal separation of GE HealthCare in January 2023 and has led the planned legal separation of GE Vernova. He also led the recruitment of boards for GE Vernova and GE Aerospace and established board and governance structures for all three planned independent public companies.

Holston says in a statement: ‘I am thankful for the opportunity to have worked with Larry Culp, the board of directors and a truly special group of lawyers and professionals to transform this iconic American company. Together, we navigated GE through a challenging period and complex environment and will have launched three world-class, investment-grade public companies in GE Aerospace, GE HealthCare and GE Vernova.

‘I am looking forward to taking a short break this summer to spend time with family and friends before starting my next chapter in the fall.’

Culp, chair and CEO of GE and CEO of GE Aerospace, writes in a LinkedIn post: ‘Michael Holston has provided outstanding partnership and counsel during his six years with GE. His steady, guiding hand has served all of us well against an immensely challenging global backdrop – the likes of which many of us have never experienced before – with a global enduring pandemic and geopolitical tensions.

‘I grew up watching a lot of Penn State college football. On defense, they had a unique position aptly called ‘Hero’ – the player who roamed the field and always went to the action. This is Mike for GE, and we are better for it.’

Ben Maiden

Ben Maiden is the editor-at-large of Governance Intelligence, an IR Media publication, having joined the company in December 2016. He is based in New York. Ben was previously managing editor of Compliance Reporter, covering regulatory and compliance...