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UPDATE 2-Jeff Immelt to retire as GE CEO, Flannery to succeed

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June 12 (Reuters) - General Electric Co said Jeff Immelt would retire as chief executive and would be replaced by John Flannery, the head of GE healthcare, ending a years-long succession plan.

Immelt, 61, will remain chairman through his retirement on Dec. 31. Flannery will take over as CEO, effective Aug. 1 and chairman following Immelt's departure.

The company's shares were up 3.6 percent in premarket trading.

Jeff Immelt, who took over from Jack Welch in 2001, has been credited with steering the company through the financial crisis, which nearly toppled the maker of jet engines, wind turbines and locomotives.

Immelt also oversaw the restructuring of the GE Capital unit and shifted the conglomerate's focus from finance to manufacturing.

Flannery, 55, who is currently president and CEO of GE Healthcare, joined GE Capital about three decades ago. He has led GE's equity business in Latin America and the overall GE Capital business for Argentina and Chile.

Flannery has led the turnaround of the healthcare business, increasing organic revenue by 5 percent and margins by 100 basis points in 2016, GE said.

GE said Kieran Murphy, president and CEO of GE Healthcare Life Sciences, will replace Flannery. (Reporting by Arunima Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)