Dennis Dammerman’s legacy will stretch across academia, international business, horse racing and anyone touched by his generous spirit.
That spirit gave out Tuesday, when the Saratoga Springs resident died at 67.
In the business world, he will be remembered for his rapid rise through the ranks and long career with General Electric, where he hired and mentored current CEO and Chairman Jeff Immelt, according to a company news release. Dammerman joined GE in 1967 in his 20s and in 1984, at age 38, was tapped to become the youngest CFO in company history.
“I will always be grateful to Dennis for the time he took to help me when I became CEO,” Immelt said in a note to employees. “He was a great mentor, coach and partner.”
He added that Dammerman was also a source for the right answer to any hard questions.
His ties to the area included serving on the New York Racing Association board of directors, as well as spending about a decade on the Skidmore College board of trustees. Michael T. Casey, the college’s vice president for advancement, said Dammerman’s death is a major loss for the community.
“He was a generous guy in all sort of ways,” Casey said. “He will be missed.”
One example of that generosity was an undisclosed donation Dammerman and his wife, Marsha, made to the Saratoga YMCA in 2006. He was also generous with his time with students, Casey said, noting Dammerman was more than willing to offer advice or help with networking for alumni.
Casey said part of what drew the horse lover to the area and to the college’s board, with which he was very active, was Skidmore’s hunter and jumper show every June. The Dammermans were regulars every year, he said.
Dammerman retired from GE in 2005, when he was serving as vice chairman of the board and an executive officer. At the time, he was also working as director, chairman and CEO of GE Capital Services.
According to a GE news release, Dammerman was honored in 1998 with the Lifetime Achievement Award for CFO Excellence from CFO magazine.
The current chairman and CEO of GE Capital, Keith Sherin, who followed Dammerman as General Electric CFO, credited his predecessor with setting the gold standard for financial leadership development.
“He trained an entire generation of GE financial leaders, and we all owe him a debt of gratitude,” Sherin said in a statement.