Louis Chenevert: Investing in Company Success

If you haven’t heard of Louis Chenevert, he is a Canadian businessman who has held multiple C-level positions in some of the largest corporations including Pratt and Whitney, General Motors, and most recently, United Technologies Corporation. Louis Chenevert joined UTC (United Technologies Corporation) in 2006, serving as the company’s Chief Operating Officer, President, and Director, before being named CEO in 2008, and ultimately, Chairman of the Board in 2010. Although UTC has a new CEO, Chenevert’s legacy still reverberates throughout the corporation, which coincidentally has been named the largest manufacturing company in the U.S.

Chenevert believes that the best way to grow a company, and secure its sustainability, is to invest in innovation and employees; this is a fundamental principle that Chenevert has carried over from Pratt and Whitney, where he served as President of the company’s aircraft engine division. In 1999, while with Pratt and Whitney, Chenevert recognized the potential in a GTF (Geared Turbofan) engine that was in still in the development stage. The engine, which was designed with the airline industry in mind, had the capacity to reduce carbon emissions by 50 percent and could also reduce fuel consumption by as much as 16 percent. Although Pratt and Whitney never produced the GTF engine, it did ultimately find it’s way into production, thanks to Louis Chenevert.

At Chenevert’s behest, UTC invested $10 billion in research and development in order to bring the GTF engine to market. These collective efforts ultimately paid off, rewarding UTC with unparalleled success in the aircraft industry. The GTF engine found it’s way into 70 aircraft, spanning 14 airlines, and is a testament to Chenevert’s commitment to invest in innovation that not only benefits the company but also their clients. As far as investing employees, Chenevert acknowledges that employees are a critical component of any company’s success. As a result, he is a huge proponent of UTC’s Employee Scholar Program. If you’re unfamiliar with the program, it has helped 39,000 UTC employees earn degrees in a variety of fields. UTC considers the Employee Scholar Program to be one of its greatest investments and one that has yielded the highest return, in terms of productivity and company growth.