Louis Chenevert: Discipline, Innovation, and Balance

Louis R. Chenevert, former chairman and CEO of United Technologies Technologies (UTC), is not your typical businessman. Discipline, imagination, innovation, teamwork, and attention to detail drive his day-to-day dealings in business. The former president at Pratt and Whitney Canada ensured that UTC stayed afloat even as the American manufacturing sector took a nosedive plunge in the postwar era.

With sheer determination and the knowledge that if he failed the company would be out of business for the next 2-3 decades, the Canadian national turned around the profits at the $63 billion UTC industrial conglomerate by emphasizing innovation, teamwork, and a sense of purpose. He also retained engineering staff in the building and aerospace technologies field by redeploying them to headquarters instead of firing them as other players in the industry were doing.

Striking a Balance for Success

By ensuring that the company was successful in both building and aerospace technologies, the company was not affected by the cyclical nature of doing business in the industry. This way, whether commercial jets or military aircraft jet were in demand in the aerospace field, the company remained profitable all year round. Chenevert also ensured that UTC’s elevator and escalator component of the business thrived which increased the fortunes of the enterprise further.

Under his stewardship, instead of making losses as business analysts were predicting in the manufacturing industry, UTC doubled its shareholders’ returns and never missed a dividend payout. Discipline and excellent leadership skills ensured that shareholder values rose by 200% during his tenure. Functional and financial synergies in the company’s core businesses and balancing its portfolio of businesses saw the company move from strength to strength. Striking a balance in investment in new and already existing products also ensured that the firm did not lose out on returns if new technologies did not perform well.

Work Experience and Achievements

Before joining UTC, Chenevert worked at General Motors for 14 years. Between 2011 and 2012, he served as the Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Business Council. He is currently the Exclusive Advisor at Goldman Sachs.

Among other achievements, Chenevert has been awarded the National Building Museum Honor Award, received an honorary doctorate from HEC Montreal, and also named the Person of the Year by Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine.

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