W. David Dance

W. David Dance, former vice chairman at General Electric, passed away in early May, at the age of 94, following a brief illness.

His leadership at GE and throughout other aspects of his life inspired many. Eduardo Rubiera, a former manager at GE said, “I have a sign on my home office door that reads: ’Anything worth doing, is worth doing well’. I did not come up with this statement. I learned it from Dave Dance.”

After his service in World War II, David began a 31-year career at GE. He started as a sales counselor for GE Appliances in Florida and continued on to become the president of Hotpoint. It was because of his leadership at Hotpoint that he was then promoted to general manager of the GE Major Appliances division. David was again promoted to become the Chairman of GE Credit. One of his successes at GE Credit was expanding the business into providing consumer-credit lending for GE customers.

In 1972, he was elected vice chairman of the GE Company and began working closely with former GE Chairman Reg Jones. Another colleague Bill Rothschild recalls that together, Dance and Jones, improved the strategies of GE. They developed important, creative programs that were used to educate key managers of the GE businesses. After his long and fulfilling career, Dance retired in 1979.

Many GE employees were affected by his leadership, including Joseph Michael O’Shea, who never met Dance personally, but still recalled his guidance. O’Shea said, “As a young employee, I had great respect for the leadership example he and the other GE executives demonstrated in very troubling times.”

Through his experiences at GE, he was able to form a relationship with former GE spokesman, Ronald Reagan. When Reagan was considering running for governor of California, he shared his ambitions with Dance. Friends and family recall Dance telling Reagan that he was “too old to start a career in politics.” At the time, Dance was serving on President Carter’s national energy policy committee and since Reagan and Dance remained friendly, Dance continued this role into his presidency as well.

In his free time, David was a family man, an avid golfer, and involved in various philanthropic groups such as Habitat for Humanity, Avow Hospice, the Tuck School and the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College.