GE Appliances to begin 'preparing employees for the transition' - WDRB 41 Louisville News

GE Appliances to begin 'preparing employees for the transition' to China's Haier

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Chip Blankenship, CEO of GE Appliances Chip Blankenship, CEO of GE Appliances

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- General Electric’s Louisville-based appliance division will “begin preparing employees for the transition” to China’s Haier Group next week, according to an employee letter from GE Appliances CEO Chip Blankenship dated Friday.

In the letter, Blankenship said some employee groups will be “required to move on Day 1, while others will remain on GE pay and benefits for a short time” -- though no one’s day-to-day work will change.

GE Appliances spokeswoman Kim Freeman said Blankenship’s letter was in reference to all the work going on “behind the scenes” to build a new pay and benefits platform so the appliance division employees can be separated from GE’s corporate system.

“All of our infrastructure, it lives within GE’s IT infrastructure. All of their benefits – everything the employees use -- is GE,” she said.

She added that employees will start "receiving information" about the specifics of the transition next week.

The $5.4 billion sale is slated to close around June, but Blankenship’s letter does not say when “Day 1” will be.

The deal received a quick green light from federal regulators last month. Because Haier has little presence in the United States, its takeover of GE Appliances did not raise the antitrust that doomed GE’s previous agreement to sell the division to Electrolux for $3.3 billion.

“We have made tremendous progress together on our preparation to become GE Appliances, a Haier company,” Blankenship wrote to employees. “Our team has worked tirelessly toward our goal of making this transition seamless to our customers and consumers.”

The appliance division, headquartered in Louisville, employs about 6,000 locally between GE’s Appliance Park factory and white-collar corporate jobs.     

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