A former GE executive who died of natural causes on Wednesday at age 86 was the first woman in the company’s history to lead a major manufacturing company.
The New York Times reported that Dr. Liza Wiehl, a longtime executive at GE’s corporate headquarters in New York City, died of a heart attack at a hospital in New Jersey.
The company said that Drs.
Wiehls and Mark Rippert, her chief operating officer, had left the company in late August, shortly before she was confirmed as CEO in June.
“It’s a huge loss for GE,” said John E. Smith, GE’s president of the Americas.
“She was a brilliant leader who brought together all the employees and the people she worked with.
She brought a strong vision for the company.”
A spokesperson for GE did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Dr. Wienhle, who spent more than 20 years at GE and was the company s director of corporate affairs, had led the company for nearly three decades.
She had a hand in revamping the design of the GE jet engine, as well as the development of the X-37B space plane, which will be used for space travel.
Dr Wienhl had been on the boards of a number of other companies, including Boeing, General Electric and Siemens.
She also worked on the X Prize, which awards a prize to someone who discovers the first working nuclear fusion reactor.