Louis Chenevert and his Role in Turning Around United Technologies Corporation
Louis Chenevert is a legend in the Canadian business community. The executive was born in Montreal in 1958, where from an early age he showed a deep interest in going into business. After graduating from HEC Montréal with a degree in Production Management, he started his career at GM’s plant in St. Therese, Quebec. He distinguished himself there, and was soon running operations in Montreal.
After fourteen years at GM, he joined PWC, a Canadian manufacturer of aircraft engines, which is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corporation, or UTC. He eventually became CEO of UTC in 2006, where he championed product of the geared turbofan engine (GTF). Louis Chenevert understood that the GTF’s superior fuel efficiency and lower production costs would make it a long-term winner for the company. Developing the engine was expensive, with 10 billion dollars invested in bringing the GTF to life. Despite criticisms from some detractors, the engine is now found in over 70 planes.
Chenevert was also pivotal in developing the X2 technology at the company’s Sikorsy subsidiary, which resulted in helicopters that were twice as fast as their previous models. His technological innovations led to the company revitalizing its presence in both narrow-body and larger-body markets.
In recognition of his success, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by his alma mater, the University of Montreal. He also serves on the board of advisors for HEC Montréal and is on the board of the Yale Cancer Center. Months after stepping down as CEO of UTC, he began working as an advisor to the merchant bank division of Goldman Sachs on the aerospace industry.
Chenevert will be remembered as a guiding force at UTC. His predecessor at UTC famously said that although he could walk into a factory and tell if everything was running smoothly in 15 minutes, Chenevert could do the same in just 15 seconds.