"We are at the end of a difficult generation of business leadership ... tough-mindedness, a good trait, was replaced by meanness and greed, both terrible traits," said Mr Immelt, who succeeded Jack Welch, one of the toughest leaders of his generation, at the helm of the US conglomerate. "Rewards became perverted. The richest people made the most mistakes with the least accountability."Immelt also said:
"The bottom 25 per cent of the American population is poorer than they were 25 years ago. That is just wrong ... Ethically, leaders do share a common responsibility to narrow the gap between the weak and the strong."Meanwhile in London, bankers responded to Alistair Darling's plans to tax their bonuses.