To say Canadian businessman Louis Chenevert was successful in his career at United Technologies Corporation (UTC) is an understatement. Innovative and incredibly intelligent, Louis Chenevert rose to the position of CEO of UTC in under two years following his time serving as President of Pratt & Whitney Canada. No undertaking was ever too great for him, and there was never a project touched by his hand that didn’t turn into a great achievement.
UTC describes their company as, “A company founded by people who invented technologies, turned them into businesses, and through innovation, built entire industries serving customers in the commercial aerospace, defense and building industries ranking among the world’s most respected and innovative companies.” Chenevert’s leadership fit well into this philosophy, and he contributed significantly to UTC’s mission with his superb business prowess and leadership ability. He was responsible for a substantial amount of growth in the success and technological advances of the company.
Background on Louis Chenevert
Born in Montreal, Quebec, Chenevert attended HEC Montreal and received a bachelor’s degree in production management. He got his professional start at General Motors (GM), working for the company for nearly 15 years. While at GM, Chenevert perfected his skills in production and management and through hard work and perseverance, and he was promoted to Production General Manager for the company. When the opportunity arose to join the aerospace manufacturer, Pratt & Whitney, Chenevert took the chance, not knowing he’d end up at the very top. At the time he joined, the company was mainly building aircraft engines and wasn’t achieving the optimal success they had hoped for.
It was only a brief period of time before Chenevert’s influence, as well as his superior skills to command the company towards prosperity, started to shine through, leading the company to expand economically. Soon Chenevert began to evolve the company’s market share in the aerospace industry. Logistics and employee value were two things Chenevert valued in his role and impressed everyone by remaining a leader in the business without outsourcing jobs or paying unfair wages. Tenacious, with a head full of introspection for his business, he was appointed Chairman of UTC in 2006, and was soon promoted to President and CEO of the company.
Chenevert’s Time at UTC
In his leadership role, Chenevert continued to help develop, apply and enforce UTCs code of ethics:
“UTC’s Code of Ethics is the foundation of our culture. First adopted in 1990, our Code sets forth those values and commitments that guide ethical decision-making everywhere we do business. The Code strengthens UTC’s fight against corruption and promotes behavior that leads to the development of fair markets so that every company competes only on its merits.”
Chenevert continued to expand the company as CEO for the following six years and lead the company towards many achievements aside from increasing profit and transforming UTC into a transformed company of advancement and progress. He also had an honorable desire to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption in the enterprise. This is just one more admirable characteristic about Chenevert–his passion for protecting the planet and environment. Emissions were cut back by 26% through his dedication to the task. This was a very challenging accomplishment for such a large company, and if every company were to work toward the same goal, it would benefit our environment significantly.
In 2014, Louis Chenevert decided to step down from his role as CEO at United Technologies, which he did nobly. He left when the company was thriving instead of declining. He stepped down not when he saw anywhere else to step up but when he knew the next leader, Gregory J. Hayes, could enter and lead the way to bring UTC even further up the ladder to accomplishment.
Many were shocked by his sudden departure from UTC at only 57 years old and with such immediate success after joining the company. He was named Aviation Week’s Person of the year in 2011, just one year after becoming CEO of the company.
Chenevert now spends his day’s semi-retired and is passionate about engineering yachts. His own Yacht “Debbie Lou” which took years of planning and development and entails all of the latest technology. Chenevert said, “Horizon was willing to install anything that I wanted, so I developed my own package. It’s worth having the best there is. It’s all about safety and making sure that things work.” He also paid particular attention to safety when designing the luxury yacht as he plans to sail with his wife, children, and grandchildren.
His remarkable ability to problem solve and tackle complex matters are just as valuable to him as they were when he was the leader of an extensive cooperation, and his accomplishments were born from nothing short of a brilliant mind.
“Everything I touch, I’m passionate about. I love technology, and I’m always trying to build a boat with the latest technology, which can be challenging.”