(Reuters) - General Electric Co <GE.N> executives did not tell the multinational conglomerate's board until October about a spare business jet that routinely flew for its now-retired chief executive, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday, citing people familiar with the matter.
Executives also did not tell directors that the maker of aircraft engines, locomotives, power plants and other industrial equipment had received an internal complaint about the jet several years ago, the publication said, also citing people familiar with the matter.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Oct. 18 that former Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt had an extra aircraft follow his corporate jet on some overseas trips during much of his 16 years in the role. GE executives first informed the board about the practice after the report, the publication said.
GE told its directors the company had scaled back the practice in mid-2014 and would continue to use the backup plane only in limited situations, such as going to risky locations, the Journal reported.
Immelt told the Journal on Thursday that he did not know the spare plane was flying.
Immelt, 61, stepped down as CEO on Aug. 1 and planned to continue as chairman through Dec. 31. But John Flannery was named chairman on Oct. 2.
Flannery has grounded GE's corporate aircraft fleet to cut costs and initiated a new policy under which executives will fly on commercial or charter flights, the Journal said.
(Reporting by Suzanne Barlyn; Editing by Richard Chang)