GE CEO Immelt: I’m just a baby, I’m not leaving

Jeff Immelt, the CEO of General Electric, has played down speculation that he might leave the U.S. conglomerate before the end of his tenure.

"I'm a young man...I'm just a young baby," he told an audience at an investment conference in Egypt Saturday.

General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt
Eric Piermont | AFP | Getty Images
General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt

Rumors of his departure were sparked by a report in the Wall Street Journal last year. Immelt began his role at the company in 2001 and has a 20-year tenure. The newspaper, citing sources familiar with the company's thinking, said he may step down sooner than expected.

At the time, GE said it was not able to comment on speculation and Immelt reiterated Saturday that he had no plans to depart.

At Egypt's Economic Development Conference in the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, Immelt said he planned to spend $200 million building a factory in Egypt to help bolster its energy infrastructure, in an effort to put an end to the blackouts some parts of the country have experienced.

The investment comes alongside others from major global corporations, with the event seen by many as a milestone in the new Egyptian government's efforts to turn around the country's economy.

"It just seems like a good time to be in Egypt," Immelt said on a panel at the event, but admitted that GE was not expecting a "perfect" investment.

"I know how important it is to the Egyptian people, and we're not going to let you down."

Immelt also said that, with negative interest rates in Europe, more corporates should be looking to put their money to work in the region.

He declined to comment on the issues surrounding Iran's ongoing negotiations with the United States over its nuclear program. He said that he'd rather U.S. President Barack Obama or Secretary of State John Kerry speak on the subject, but agreed the any developments that led to economic advancements would be beneficial.