Louis Chenevert: The Power of Visionary Leadership

9 Feb

Louis Chenevert: The Power of Visionary Leadership

Great leaders do not come along every day. Preparation, circumstances, experience, and opportunity is what creates them. Ultimately though, they must be at the right place at the right time. Such was the case for Mr. Louis Chenevert, CEO of United Technologies Corporation (UTC) from 2006 to 2014.

When Mr. Chenevert, a native of Quebec, Canada, graduated from HEC Montreal with a Bachelor of Science in Production Management, General Motors (GM) then offered him a position. After 14 years with GM, he had achieved the title, manager of production. That is when he was lured away by the United Technologies Corporation’s subsidiary, Pratt & Whitney. Mr. Chenevert worked in Pratt & Whitney’s Canadian division, before emerging as president of the company.

As President of Pratt & Whitney, Louis Chenevert did not have much further to climb when he was named CEO of UTC in 2006. That was when Mr. Chenevert applied his vision of how a conglomerate like UTC should be structured. He had an idea which looked well beyond what he was given to build on. His view was to build a conglomerate that fit together seamlessly.

Thus as CEO Louis Chenevert acquired the Goodrich Corporation for $16.4 billion, and made similar smaller deals as a matter of forging synergies within the fabric of UTC. The purpose was to create a one-stop shop that could accommodate several of their customer’s needs in aviation and construction. The two primary revenue streams for the company.

Besides synergizing UTC, Mr. Chenevert also desired to centralize the company. By UTC bringing most of its skilled employees to work in Connecticut, the workforce would yield more significant technological innovation and make UTC more competitive. The development of the geared turbofan jet engine is a product of this process. These fuel-efficient quieter engines alone have virtually guaranteed UTC’s immediate future. No one can say what the talented engineers and technologist at UTC will come up with next.

Louis Chenevert provided an example of how a modern-day CEO must approach his or her business. The name of the game is to create an efficient structure and to depend on the talents of your human capital. It is not only visionary–it is logical to do so.


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