When you're as big as GE, it's impossible not to be hurt in a downturn. But the company had good news on its 2008 highlight list too: the three-year-old Ecomagination division saw revenues rise 21% to $17 billion; investment in clean R&D doubled to $1.4 billion; NBC-Universal delivered the most-digital-Olympics-ever, via 2, 200 hours of live streaming video.
Nothing shows GE's modern outlook more than its willingness to lampoon itself on TV's 30 Rock, created by Tina Fey. "It adds to the humanity of the company, " GE CEO Jeff Immelt told Fast Company at a GE party at, yes, 30 Rockefeller Center. " 30 Rock is a way for us to poke fun at big corporate culture and not be defensive about it, " agrees Steve Fludder, the new chief of Ecomagination. "I just showed a clip yesterday at a GE meeting, " NBC head Jeff Zucker says.