Have you ever stashed a spare shirt in your bag in case you spilled something, or brought along a spare pair of shoes in case you got a blister? Former General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt reportedly took similar precautions: According to company insiders, he brought an extra jet along with him on some business trips in case the first one broke down.
Jets, of course, aren’t something that you can stash in your messenger bag or the trunk of your car. According to “people with knowledge of the situation” who spoke to The Wall Street Journal, Immelt had another empty plane follow his jet on some trips.
The crews were told not to discuss the spare jet, and the two planes sometimes wouldn’t even park near each other, making it less likely that onlookers would connect them.
A spokesperson for GE told the WSJ that Immelt didn’t always double up on planes when he traveled, explaining, “Two planes were used on limited occasions for business-critical or security purposes.”
This news is coming out now because Immelt is no longer in charge, and his successor, John Flannery, started his time in the top job by grounding all of GE’s corporate jets, at least temporarily.
He’s conducting a “strategic review” of the entire business, which will involve even bigger cost cuts than grounding the extra private planes. Another visible cost cut will be ending the program of company cars, which around 700 executives have.