Canadian businessman Louis Chenevert got his start at General Motors. He led their Saint Therese operations as its production general manager for 14 years. He then headed to the airplane engine firm Pratt & Whitney where he eventually became president in 1999. In 2006 he promoted to this firm’s parent company, United Technologies Corporation.
He started out as a director, was eventually promoted to president and chief operating officer, and in 2008 he became the chief executive officer. In 2010 he joined the board as its chairman. He decided to retire in November 2014. However, that didn’t last long and he now advises people on their investment decisions at Goldman Sachs.
As the top executive of UTC Louis Chenevert had a lot of successes he can point to. One of these was designing a new narrow body aircraft that is used by Airbus, Embraer and Bombardier. His company then designed new Gulfstream G500 and G600. They had replaced Rolls Royce for these airplanes who had this contract for decades. Another big success he says was being the sole supplier of F135 engines which he says forever changed military propulsion.
Louis Chenevert says that when he was leading United Technologies Corporation he focused on building small and nimble teams. He empowered these teams with the tools and funding they needed to develop innovative technologies. He also gave them a wide latitude of autonomy which he thought was incredibly important. The goal was to always make sure key objectives were met in a highly efficient way.
In order to succeed at the top of this company, he said that he always followed-up on projects and fully focused on them. He was also passionate about leading this company and always felt optimistic about the success of the company. He chose to not take part in internal politics and always made sure that his executives had the resources they needed to carry out their jobs. The worst job he ever had he says is working 2nd shit at GM when he first started out. He said the people he worked with had some really great ideas but the management of this company didn’t listen to them.