When the discussion of legacy comes up at United Technologies Corporation, it is unavoidable to mention Louis Chenevert and his incredible accomplishments before, during, and after his time as CEO of the company. Gregory Hayes is the current CEO of UTC, and he reminds his employees that the CEO should be a steward of the company, leaving the company better than they found it. It is clear that Chenevert had the same mentality when he served UTC, maintaining a tight focus on investing in innovation, long-term goals, and the people of the company.
The CEO of any organization must deliver measurable results in the short-term, but should also maintain an eye on the future and the long-term success of the company. UTC has always been committed to investing in people and technology, and recognizing that any decision that was made today is going to have a direct impact on the success of the company in the future. When this subject comes up with employees of United Technologies Corporation, the discussion quickly turns to former CEO Louis Chenevert, particularly regarding how his vision with the Pratt & Whitney geared turbofan engine changed the future of the company.
In order to understand how this particular engine and United Technologies Corporation became part of the same conversation, we have to go back to 1999, when Louis Chenevert was the president of Pratt & Whitney. He recognized back then that this particular GTF engine was going to be something big, and when he became CEO of United Technologies Corporation in 2006, he married the two together. His vision from years ago was key for his company now, as they invested over $10 billion and two decades into designing and developing the jet engine that changed an industry. Because it reduces fuel consumption by 16% and emissions by 50%, the GTF is now flown by more than 14 airlines on over 70 aircraft. Without Louis Chenevert’s ability to see the future potential of the company and its investments, this deal would never have happened.
Chenevert and his willingness to invest in technologies was key in driving future growth for UTC. His vision when president of the company is now the driving force in supporting the U.S. economy and helping to produce U.S. manufacturing jobs that stay in this country. Today, Pratt & Whitney have manufacturing plants in Connecticut, Georgia, Florida, Maine, Michigan, and New York. These plants create a supply chains that does in fact touch each state across the country. By investing over $1 billion, these plants are able to meet the needs of the current client base but future customers too.
When Louis Chenevert wanted to marry these two together, he was not focused only on the gains the company would see today, he envisioned a time way in the future when that union would result in hiring thousands of next generation talents, and that is exactly what is happening today. During the next three years, United Technologies Corporation is expected to provide jobs for over 25,000 new employees and create over 5,000 new positions that will eventually support the growth of future innovative platforms.
To get a better understanding about Louis Chenevert and how his career and lifetime accomplishments were instrumental in United Technologies Corporation, we have to go back to his early life. Chenevert was born in Quebec, Canada, and earned his bachelor’s degree from HEC Montreal in production management. He spent 14 years working at General Motors before working for Pratt & Whitney. After six years with this Canadian corporation, he was elected president of the company. In 2006, Chenevert was elected UTC’s CEO and president, and in 2009 was the recipient of the prestigious Honor Award given by the National Building Museum. In 2011, Chenevert was awarded an honorary doctorate by HEC Montreal. In that same year, Louis Chenevert was named “Person of the Year”, by Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine.
Louis Chenevert married the two companies together that today are responsible for manufacturing growth in the U.S., he was such a visionary that he didn’t just recognize that these innovative investments were going to be good for business, they would be good for the growth of the suppliers’ businesses too. If a CEO was to only look at increasing the bottom line of his company, then he would see results over the years. Louis Chenevert recognized that the suppliers of the company play just as important a role in helping grow the customer base and profits, and everybody wins.
Looking at Pratt & Whitney today, nearly 80% of the GTF’s manufactured parts are being outsourced to various suppliers, many based right here in the U.S. In the last three years, as a result of that visionary union, United Technologies Corporation has spent an excess of $40 billion with their U.S. suppliers. Louis Chenevert knew back then that investing in technology would only take a company so far because the company itself doesn’t innovate, the people within that company do.
When Chenevert first took the reigns of UTC, he knew that there would be no success unless his company invested in the people who work for the company. Even before Louis Chenevert was the CEO of UTC, the company was encouraging its employees to pursue lifelong learning by way of the Employee Scholar Program. This program has been instrumental in helping these employees to earn a degree in any field they choose, and the best part is that UTC foots the entire bill of schooling. In the last 20 years, employees of United Technologies Corporation have earned over 39,000 degrees by making use of the scholarship program. That is a total investment of $1 billion that Chenevert and current CEO agree was money well spent.
Thanks in part to the innovative thinking and dedication to his craft, Louis Chenevert was instrumental in helping UTC become a global company with numerous investments all over the world. Thanks to the foundation laid by Chenevert, this company is going to continue into the future by investing in markets offering competitive advantages. In line with his vision, UTC today is fostering a competitive and strong business environment that is unparalleled in this industry. Louis Chenevert knew all those years ago that a competitive business environment is the best way to guarantee a vibrant economy and growth throughout the world.