General Electric Co Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt took responsibility for the U.S. conglomerate's tarnished reputation as a growth company, in a letter to shareholders released Monday.

GE shares have lost 75 percent of their value over the past year, a steeper slide than either the blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> or the broad Standard & Poor's 500 index <.SPX> have witnessed.

He wrote, 2008 was a tough year, and we expect 2009 to be even tougher.

The macro-environment has been brutal. The losses in the whole financial services industry are projected to be at least $2 trillion. The lending capacity that has come out of the system is somewhere between $5 trillion and $10 trillion, he said.

Immelt intends to reset the financial services business to be smaller, less volatile and more connected to the 'GE core'.

Earlier this decade, our financial services earnings received a valuation similar to our industrial earnings; today, it is lower. In the end, having financial services as 50 percent of our earnings was too high, he wrote.

Shares of GE closed at $7.60 on Monday at the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Ratul Ray Chaudhuri in Bangalore; Editing by Derek Caney)