Louis Chenevert’s career has been an interesting one, covering a broad spectrum of various manufacturers and positions, beginning with General Motors for 14 years. Formerly the president of Pratt and Whitney Canada, an aircraft engine manufacturer providing Chenevert’s first foray into the aviation industry. He attended HEC Montreal, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in production management, the perfect skill set for his upcoming career. He also received an honorary doctorate from HEC Montreal in 2011, being named Person of the Year by the Aviation Week & Space Technology the very same year.
However, he didn’t truly come into form until being elected Chairman and CEO of UTC in March 2006. The most interesting story is how Chenevert managed to keep UTC the market leader in the aerospace and building space industries without issuing pay cuts to workers or sidestepping environmental compliance laws during the economic recession, an astounding feat that seems near-incomprehensible. One particularly impressive aspect is how UTC maintained exemplary performance without requiring huge investments in the company’s workforce or technology. Chenevart also refused to outsource or engage in wholesale offshoring policies.
Chenevert even managed to relocate engineers in aerospace from lower-cost communities to UTC in Connecticut to make it possible to apply skills where necessary. Chenevert ensured that UTC wasn’t forced to layoff engineers the same way other companies did. An additional benefit was providing UTC with the resources to focus on its two major markets, aerospace and building in a manner that managed to leverage financial and functional synergies. These amazing feats have earned Louis Chenevert the moniker of “think tank.”
However, Chenevert’s most important contribution to UTC was possibly achieving a perfect balance between various businesses that cater to an extensive list of markets.
UTC has learned from this, revenues being bought in both new product creation and first class product delivery, always benefiting from the life cycle of their many products. Chenevert stepped down from the position in 2014.
The story of Louis Chenevert’s accomplishments can never be truly understood, just getting lucky as the right man for the job when he was needed the most.