Louis Chenevert: Master of Systems and Synergies

Today Mr. Louis Chenevert is a semi-retired corporate executive. Most recently, he was an advisor for Goldman Sachs on the worthiness of their potential investment opportunities. His career results distinguish him as one of the most sagacious business executives ever to lead a Fortune 500 company.

Louis Chenevert’s story begins in Quebec, Canada. In 1979 he graduated from HEC Montreal, where he received a bachelor of science degree in production management. General Motors (GM) hired Chenevert, and over a period of 14 years, he rose from being a production manager to become the manager of production at GM.

In 1993, Pratt & Whitney hired Mr. Chenevert to work at their Canadian division. There he excelled, and six years later, in 1999, he was appointed the president of Pratt & Whitney, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corporation (UTC). Louis Chenevert continued to rise through the ranks. In 2006, he became UTC’s CEO and chairman of the board. In 2011 Mr. Chenevert was awarded an honorary doctorate by his alma mater, HEC Montreal.

His rapid rise and all the recognition, even the honorary degree is a testament to the brilliance of Louis Chenevert. In 2011 Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine named him “Person of the Year.” On December 8th, 2014 Mr. Chenevert retired from his post as CEO of UTC. What he accomplished while heading UTC has laid the foundation for the company’s continued progress for decades to come.

Mr. Chenevert bought the divisions of UTC together in a central geographic zone near the companies headquarters in Connecticut. This accomplished two things. It reduced cost and made it possible for the vast engineering and technical talent of UTC to share ideas more readily. Mr. Chenevert took this bold counterintuitive step during a time when many large corporations were moving their facilities overseas thanks to globalization. His confidence in the notion that synergy would be a good thing for UTC gave birth to innovations like the geared turbofan aircraft engine, and the acquisition of the Goodrich Corporation.

Above all else, Mr. Louis Chenevert changed the culture of UTC. No longer is it just another industrial conglomerate. It is now a group of companies working together to serve their customers with an overlapping product base. All while the people who service those clients synchronize their intellectual talents from the company’s hub of operation in Connecticut. That will be the lasting legacy of CEO Louis Chenevert on UTC.

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