When Louis Chênevert graduated the Business School HEC Montréal in 1979 it was with a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree. His working career began at General Motors. When he left GM after 14 years he was a production manager.
Upon leaving General Motors Louis Chênevert moved to the Canadian aircraft engine manufacturer Pratt and Whitney in 1993. By the end of his thirteen years there, he had risen to the rank of company president.
The next stop on Chênevert’s career path was the Farmington, Connecticut based Pratt and Whitney subsidiary United Technologies Corporation (UTC). His impact on UTC would be positive and long-lasting.
UTC stock was selling at $37.00 a share when he took the helm. Under the stewardship of CEO Louis Chênevert UTC stock would more than triple by the time he entered semi-retirement in 2014.
What makes Chênevert’s success at UTC impressive is that it came at the height of the “Great Recession” while operating in Connecticut a state notorious for high operating costs. Add to that a strategy for UTC that flew in the face of current business convention.
Instead of sending jobs to countries where wages are low Louis Chênevert brought jobs to America. He bucked the outsourcing trend reasoning that underpaid labor is unlikely to produce a quality product.
His foresight enabled Chênevert to see that the geared turbofan (GTF) engine was the next great innovation in aeronautics. Used by over a dozen different airlines the GTF uses 16% less fuel emits half the pollutants and generates 75% less noise than traditional jet engines.
By having UTC focus on building both military and civilian aircraft engines Chênevert insured the company would weather any business cycle while protecting the jobs of UTC employees.
In 2011 UTC purchased aircraft component manufacturer Goodrich for $18.4 billion. It was this deal that made UTC a global company. It also lowered manufacturing costs while creating a wider market for UTC.
In 2015, Chênevert became co-chairman of the Congressional Medal of Honor (CMH) Foundation Board of Directors. The foundation works to promote the values the CMH embodies like patriotism and integrity.