Athenahealth Chairman Jeff Immelt on Sen. John McCain: 'He was my hero'

Athenahealth Executive Chairman and former GE CEO Jeff Immelt penned a tribute to the late Sen. John McCain, who died Aug. 25 following a battle with brain cancer.

"Like many others, I mourn the loss of John McCain," he wrote in an Aug. 27 LinkedIn blog post. "I knew John well and had massive respect for him."

Mr. Immelt, who served on the board of the international leadership organization the McCain Institute, called Mr. McCain a thought leader in defense strategy and immigration, among other policy areas that intersected with his work at the helm of GE. He noted a lesson he gleaned in 2011, during a trip to Egypt as part of a delegation of CEOs led by Mr. McCain after the Arab Spring.

"I had the chance to walk with [John] through Tahrir Square surrounded by thousands of adoring Egyptians who were in the midst of seismic change. John was the trusted face of America and his mere presence was reassuring to a country looking for friends. I saw another lesson in leadership; that showing up in a crisis — even when there are no simple answers — promotes trust," he wrote.

Mr. Immelt said he worked to highlight American values as he traveled the globe selling products with GE, which included attributes like being "tough-minded optimists," "aggressive competitors" and "good friends."  

"John represented the best of who we are," he added. "He was my hero, and I will miss him."

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