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Jack Welch Takes His Column and Goes Home

The Exchange

Turns out Jack Welch can't take the heat after all.

On Tuesday it was reported that the former General Electric CEO and his wife -- former Harvard Business Review editor-in-chief, Suzy Welch -- would no longer be writing their joint, biweekly column for Fortune magazine and Reuters.com, informing the editors of both publications via email that they were terminating their contract because they felt that they would get better "traction" for their writing elsewhere. The couple's articles have been running on Fortune since March 2012.

The move came after days of withering criticism from both sides of the aisle in response to Welch's tweet last Friday in which he suggested that the Obama administration had possibly manipulated the September jobs report number. "Unbelievable jobs numbers .. these Chicago guys will do anything .. can't debate so change numbers," Welch wrote. The insinuation, which Welch doubled down on after the fact, was that the president wanted to make the economy look healthier than it actually is heading into the November election.

The response was quick and critical (although he has found some supporters), with the White House calling his assertions "ludicrous." Fortune Managing Editor Andy Serwer called Welch out on the Monday morning episode of MSNBC's "Morning Joe," saying that, as far as the data are concerned, he feels the state of the U.S. economy is "exactly the opposite of what Jack Welch is saying. Things are actually improving."

The last straw for Welch was apparently an article that appeared on Fortune.com on Tuesday, which called Welch a job destroyer and highlighted the 100,000-plus jobs that he cut at GE during his 20 years at the helm.

Welch has become something of a media star since retiring from GE in 2001, appearing regularly on the cable news circuit and writing op-eds for a variety of print and online outlets. That trend will likely continue long term, but for now at least "Neutron Jack" has decided to take his ball and go home.