John Cassidy
John Flannery

General Electric today disclosed that eight of the 17 members of its board of directors are leaving the company as CEO John Flannery works to engineer a comeback for the Boston-headquartered $122B industrial giant.

Shelly Lazarus (former CEO of Ogilvy & Mather), Steve Mollenkopf (CEO of Qualcomm), Mary Shapiro (ex-chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission), Peter Henry (professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business), Andrea Jung (former CEO of Avon Products), Susan Hockfield (neuroscience professor at MIT), Jim Rohr (ex-CEO of PNC Financial Services) and Marijn Dekkers (ex-CEO of Bayer) are exiting the board.

GE nominated three new directors, including Tom Horton (CEO of American Airlines), Lawrence Culp (ex-CEO of Danaher) and Leslie Seidman (former chairman of US Financial Standards Accounting Board), to serve on the reconstituted 12-member board.

Jack Brennan, ex-CEO of Vanguard & lead director at GE, said the smaller board "will help to promote the heightened engagement and sense of accountability that we want to drive at every level of the company.” He plans to step down from GE's board in 2019.

In his letter to shareholders released today, Flannery took a swipe at some coverage of GE.

He said certain of GE’s coverage is “overwrought and, in most cases, does not reflect the reality of GE that our customers and employees are seeing around the world.”

GE’s shares hit an eight-year low of $13.95 today. Its stock was off 45 percent for 2017, and 19 percent so far this year.