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Reginald H. Jones
Black and white photo of clean-shaven man with short hair, in business suit
Born(1917-07-11)11 July 1917
Died30 December 2003(2003-12-30) (aged 86)
EducationWharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
Occupation(s)business, entire career with GE
Years active1939–1981
Known forchanging the relationship between business and government
Notable workGeneral Electric Company CEO (1972–1981)

Reginald H. Jones (11 July 1917 – 30 December 2003) was the chairman and CEO of General Electric from 1972 to 1981.


Jones was born in Stoke-on-Trent, England, United Kingdom.[1][2]

After graduating from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a brother of Phi Sigma Kappa, Jones joined the GE's Business Training Course in 1939. He spent his entire career with GE. In 1968, Jones became the company's chief financial officer, and was elected senior vice-president two years later, in 1970. He attained the top spot in 1972, serving as CEO until 1981.[3] He was awarded the Vermilye Medal in 1978.

Jones selected his successor, Jack Welch, based on the outcome of a succession contest. Jones' own account of that contest can be heard in an interview conducted with him by Prof. Gerald Zahavi (U-Albany, SUNY).[4]

Jones is best known to the public for his role in changing the relationship between business and government. He was co-Chairman of the Business Roundtable.[5] He served as Chairman of The Business Council in 1979 and 1980.[6]

On 30 December 2003, Jones died in Greenwich, Connecticut, United States. During his tenure as CEO of GE he implemented various innovative strategic planning initiatives, driving the corporation further into a global marketplace. Under his watch, the company's sales more than doubled; its profits did even better. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, several business publications[which?] acknowledged him to have been one of the most influential business leaders in America. In fact, in 1980, U.S. News & World Report ranked him as the most influential man in business.[7]

Jones was a former chair of Wharton’s Overseers and a Trustee of the University of Pennsylvania. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from Penn in 1980. He continues to be recognized at Wharton through the Reginald H. Jones Professorship of Corporate Management and the Reginald H. Jones and Grace Cole Jones Decade Donors.[8]


  1. ^ "Reginald Jones – Business Bio Summary | A Touch of". 4 July 2018. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  2. ^ "Deaths: Reginald Jones, Trustee Emeritus". Almanac. 50 (24). 2 March 2004. Retrieved 20 July 2022.
  3. ^ "Wharton Alumni Magazine: 125 Influential People and Ideas: Reginald H. Jones". Archived from the original on 10 June 2011. Retrieved 23 August 2011.
  4. ^ Talking history
  5. ^ "GE History - Past Leaders". 7 December 2012.
  6. ^ "The Business Council, Official website, Background". Archived from the original on 3 March 2016.
  7. ^ Saxon, Wolfgang (2 January 2004). "Reginald Harold Jones, 86, Dies". The New York Times.
  8. ^ "Wharton Alumni Magazine: 125 Influential People and Ideas: Reginald H. Jones". Archived from the original on 30 January 2010.
Business positions Preceded byFred J. Borch Chairman & CEO of General Electric 1972 – 1981 Succeeded byJack Welch