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Jeff Immelt ends 16-year tenure as CEO of General Electric

General Electric chairman and chief executive Jeff Immelt, shown after the groundbreaking for the company’s new headquarters in Fort Point, is stepping down. –Keith Bedford/Globe Staff

General Electric Co.’s Jeff Immelt will step down as chief executive this summer, an earlier-than-expected departure that will leave Boston’s biggest company under new leadership just a year after it relocated from Connecticut.

John Flannery, the 55-year-old head of GE Healthcare, will take the reins as CEO on Aug. 1, the company said Monday.

Immelt dramatically transformed General Electric during his 16-year tenure as its top executive, selling businesses such as its appliances unit and NBC Universal to focus on bringing its mainstay industrial lines into the digital age. Now, it will be up to Flannery to execute his mentor’s vision in a way that satisfies GE’s increasingly impatient investors.

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