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Cramer states the bull case for staying in GE through its leadership shakeup

  • General Electric announced on Monday that Jeff Immelt would step down as CEO.
  • Shares of GE jumped $1 in early trading on news that insider John Flannery would succeed Immelt.
  • "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer believes "the market has spoken."

When shares of General Electric jumped $1 after the company announced that CEO Jeff Immelt would step down and be replaced by insider John Flannery, Jim Cramer took it as a sign.

"No matter what I have to say about this change, it really doesn't matter," the "Mad Money" host said. "The market has spoken."

Cramer recalled what famed NFL head coach Bill Parcells, also known as The Big Tuna, used to say: "You are what your record says you are." In GE's case, Immelt's record showed he was unfit to remain at the helm, Cramer said.

Since Immelt took the role of CEO in 2001, GE's stock has been one of the Dow Jones Average's worst-performing names, down 31 percent.

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Compared with Caterpillar's 314 percent rally, United Technologies' 256 percent advance, or even Apple's 11,670 percent skyrocket, GE shares clearly lagged, even among its competitors.

"Much has been made of the fact that Immelt became CEO just a few days before 9/11, an unlucky break given all of the exposure that GE has to the aircraft business," Cramer said.

But even the stock of Boeing, which is entirely exposed to the aircraft industry, rallied 289 percent since Immelt began his tenure.

Cramer acknowledged that some may consider it unfair to judge Immelt after he inherited GE from its legendary former CEO Jack Welch, who boosted the company's value by 4,000 percent during his time there.

"First, I could argue that Welch is mortal, and it's not like there was no way for anyone to overtake the man's record. Second, Immelt's had 16 years to try to get the stock back to $40, where it was before he took over on September 7, 2001," Cramer said.

GE's stock closed at $28.94 a share on Monday, up over 3.5 percent.

To be fair, the "Mad Money" host admitted that Welch's $14-billion-to-$410-billion feat left Immelt with massive shoes to fill.

But that Apple CEO Tim Cook drove shares of Apple from $53 to $145 in six years after his iconic predecessor, Steve Jobs, passed away, which to Cramer meant that it can be done.

There were many moments when Cramer found renewed hope for GE, especially when Nelson Peltz and his firm, Trian Partners, took a $2.5 billion position in the stock.

Cramer said Peltz and Immelt had a reputably good working relationship, but Immelt was unable to deliver the $2 billion in cost cuts that Trian wanted, a potential catalyst for Trian to get involved in the CEO switch.

Adding fuel to the fire, several Wall Street analysts turned against GE in the last year, making it difficult for investors to stay the course, particularly when the company's 3.3 percent dividend was questioned.

All things considered, Cramer has a plan for investors when it comes to the stock of GE.

"We have been telling people, as part of our ActionAlertsPlus.com club, that it's worth holding on to for any change, and now that we're getting one, it makes no sense to sell," Cramer said, referencing his charitable trust. "I think there will be some pain here, as Flannery probably has to guide down the Street's expectations, but there's plenty of value too and I'd hold on for that."

And while Cramer believes that Immelt has personally always been "a good, solid, honest man who did his best," he defaulted to Parcells' age-old saying when it comes to Immelt's record.

"The execution wasn't crisp enough and his luck was bad," the "Mad Money" host said. "As the stock's jump says today, it was time for a new CEO and time to hold on to GE to see what happens next."

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