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Ex-GE transportation CEO: It's 'painful' to see the 'dismantling of this legendary company'

  • Former General Electric transportation CEO Bob Nardelli says that it's "very painful" for him to watch the "dismantling of this legendary company."
  • "I think John [Flannery] has no choice but to push it all to the center of the table and kind of let the chips fall where they are given the situation," Nardelli says.

Former General Electric transportation CEO Bob Nardelli told CNBC on Monday that it's "very painful" for him to watch the "dismantling of this legendary company."

Shares of GE were lower Monday after the company said it would cut its quarterly dividend in half to help free up capital to fund a turnaround, and announced an aggressive corporate restructuring.

During a presentation at the company's investor day Monday, Chairman and CEO John Flannery said the future of the company is going to be "more focused" and admitted that its performance has been "unacceptable."

"I continue to get hundreds of emails and texts about what's going on," said Nardelli, also the former GE power systems CEO. "I think John has no choice but to push it all to the center of the table and kind of let the chips fall where they are given the situation, which certainly sounds more direr than any of us had been led to believe."

The conglomerate said Monday it sees adjusted earnings for the year ahead between $1 and $1.07 a share. The board of directors will be reduced from 18 to 12, with three new members slated "with relevant industry experience."

The board being reduced is "probably appropriate given the downsize of the business," Nardelli told "Squawk on the Street." "I just hope they get someone on the board with industrial experience, [which] would be very beneficial."

Flannery has a challenging environment, Nardelli said, but "I think he's doing the right things. Open the kimono, put it all out there, and work like heck to try to bring it back."

Nardelli added it would be unfair to put all of the blame GE's previous CEO, Jeff Immelt, for its performance. "I mean there was an 18-person board that reviewed and approved all those things," he said.

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