About Bill Conaty

Integrity. Trust. Self-confidence. These are some of the ways Bill Conaty ’67 defines character. As senior vice president of human resources at General Electric (GE) for nearly 15 years, Conaty knows a thing or two about assessing someone’s character. Under Conaty’s leadership, his department became a key asset for former CEO Jack Welch, one of the most admired executives in recent American business history.


Human resources should have a major role to play in the executive C-suite, says Conaty. “Most corporations are only as good as the people who work in them,” he notes. “If you don’t have talented people and an HR organization making sure those individuals get the equitable treatment and professional development they deserve, your company will be at a real disadvantage.”

So what kind of people should an organization try to entice or retain? On Conaty’s watch, retention or dismissal depended in part on a rigorous ranking system that regularly removed GE’s least effective performers.

After a 40 year career at GE, during which time he engineered many of GE’s innovative and widely respected practices in the areas of workforce differentiation and succession planning, Bill Conaty retired and formed Conaty Consulting, LLC., where he continues to be a role model for turning HR organizations into strategic business partners. . Conaty has served as chairman of the Human Resource Policy Association and the National Academy of Human Resources, where he was named as a Distinguished Fellow, the organization’s highest honor. In 2004, Conaty was named Human Resources Executive of the Year by Human Resource Executive magazine. He has served as a personal advisor to the CEOs of companies around the world, including P&G, Boeing, Dell, Goodyear, LG Electronics (Korea), and UniCredit (Italy). Conaty is often featured in BusinessWeek and The Wall Street Journal, and is very active on the worldwide speaking circuit. Partnering with Ram Charan, Conaty co-authored The Talent Masters, published by Random House in Fall 2010.