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Michael E. Chen, MBA '85

Michael Chen was recently the president of NBC News’ Strategic Initiatives Group & Education Nation.  In this capacity, he was responsible for identifying growth opportunities for NBC News and oversaw several key news division properties, including Education Nation and NBC Learn. In addition, Chen sat on the board of directors for the Weather Channel.

Prior to this role, Chen was president and CEO of GE Capital’s Media, Communications, and Entertainment (MCE) business, and was a vice president and officer of GE. In this role, which he held 2007-2011, he oversaw GE’s debt and equity financing to these three sectors, with a portfolio of over $8 billion. In addition, he founded the Peacock Equity Fund, a highly successful venture capital joint venture between GE Capital and NBC Universal focused on digital media properties. He was co-chairman of the fund and oversaw all investments with a return of 40+ percent from 2007-2011.

Chen started his career in 1985 as a financial analyst for IBM. After several different roles in finance, he moved over to IBM Credit Corporation in 1990. He held management positions in sales, finance and risk management before joining GE in 1994 as vice president of risk management for GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS). He was named senior vice president and general manager, North America, for GECAS in 1999, where his team was responsible for providing aircraft leases and loans to the aviation industry for the US and Canada. During the eight years in this role, he led GECAS growth in North America and helped GECAS become the leading financing company to the aviation industry.

In addition to serving on Johnson’s Advisory Council, Chen serves on the advisory board for Sodexo Corporation and the board of directors for the Norwalk Community College Foundation. He was named one of the nation’s top sales and customer relationship individuals in the book Secrets of Great Rainmakers by best-selling author Jeffrey Fox, and he was awarded “Dealmaker of the Year” in 2008 by the New York based organization, the Executive Council.

Chen has been featured on the Wall Street Journal online; the syndicated radio program “The CEO Show”; and in Forbes regarding “What CEO’s Can Learn From Jeremy Lin.” He was featured in the “Profiles in Leadership” series in Johnson’s magazine, Cornell Enterprise. A guest lecturer on “Developing Success in Life through Personal Branding” at various corporate and leadership conferences, Chen received a Distinguished Service Award at the 2010 Commencement for Norwalk Community College, and the “Who’s Who in Asian American Communities (WWAAC) Leaders and Legends Award” in August 2010.

Chen was born in New York City. He received his BS in electrical engineering from the University of Rochester in 1983 and his MBA in finance from Johnson at Cornell University in 1985. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and four boys. You can follow Chen on Twitter at @mytipsforlife. 

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