How Louis Chenevert Helped UTC Survive a Corporate Mass Extinction

Business acumen, forward-thinking, and a willingness to invest in people make a successful corporate leader. Louis Chenevert has demonstrated these qualities throughout his entire career.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in Production Management from HEC MontrĂ©al Business School Chenvert worked for General Motors as a production manager. A post he held for 14 years.

In 1993, Louis Chenevert was hired by the Pratt and Whitney division of United Technologies Corporation (UTC). In 1999 he was elevated to President and CEO of the entire division. One of Chenevert’s first accomplishments in his new post was the negotiation of an $18.4 billion dollar deal that brought aircraft component manufacturer Goodrich into the UTC fold.

During Louis Chenevert’s tenure, UTC thrived while multiple other manufacturing giants like RCA went under. Even more impressive is that Hartford Connecticut based UTC was able to flourish in a state with high business costs.

The company’s aeronautics division produces Sikorsky Helicopters, jet engines, and a variety of aviation components. Otis Elevator and Escalator is a UTC company. Climate control products and fire detection systems also comprise part of UTC’s product line.

By packaging related items, i.e. construction-related components, Chenevert provided new ways to generate revenue by creating a whole new product line out of existing products. Chenevert stressed product diversity pointing out that unlike companies that focus on making one product a company with a diverse product line is better able to weather consumer trends.

With Chenevert at the helm, the value of UTC stock increased 200%. He achieved this without reducing investments in technology, sending large numbers of jobs overseas, or taking anything away from UTC’s employees. In fact, over the last 21 years, 40,000 UTC employees have gotten college degrees through the company’s Employee Scholar Program. To date, the company has invested $1 billion in this program.

During his time at UTC Louis Chenevert stressed preparedness for the future. Toward that end, he established a policy of always budgeting enough to keep the company in the technological vanguard. A policy continued by his successor after Chenevert left UTC and entered the employ of Goldman Sachs.