Montreal native Louis Chenevert spent his childhood in 1960’s Quebec nurturing an interest in business and innate understanding of hard work and financial rewards he would seek out in his storied career. This drive followed Chenevert into adulthood, as he pursued a business degree at the University of Montreal.
Chenevert’s ambition paid off when he quickly landed a position at a General Motors plant in St. Therese. Charged with the plant’s assembly line, he was given a crash course in quick thinking and sound decision-making the rapid pace of the auto industry required.
Dedicating the next 15 years of his life to the auto industry, Louis Chenevert decided in 1993 it was time for a change. He took a role at Pratt & Whitney Canada (PWC), building airplane engines. He remained with PWC’s parent company, P&W, for a number of years, eventually rising to the company’s presidency in 1999.
P&W was not in the best financial position at the time, but Chenevert felt up to the challenge. Under his leadership the company innovated itself back into profitability, even as the economy entered a recession. During this time Chenevert took a great interest in the company’s geared turbofan (GTF) that was under development. The GTF would play an important role in his next move.
P&W was a subsidiary of the larger United Technologies Corporation (UTC), operating across a variety of industries. Chenevert’s successes at P&W made him an obvious choice to take a director’s chair at UTC. Remembering the GTF, Chenevert maneuvered the project, a venture many criticized for its cost, into UTC’s flagship product. The GTF now flies on 70 different planes across 14 airlines.
Finally in 2008, with nowhere else to go, Louis Chenevert was named CEO and President of UTC. For the little boy from Montreal, it was the culmination of his life’s work. When Chenevert retired from UTC in 2014 his shareholders had received a return of more than 84% on their investment. An astounding sum that set the company up for continued profitably long after he was gone.