Louis Chenevert: The Hallmark of Innovative Leadership

Louis Chenevert has had a storied professional career. He is today recognized as one of the leading business executives in Canada having worked for a number of multinationals including General Motors and United Technologies Corporation (UTC). At General Motors, he rose to become the production manager and spent close to one and a half decades at the car manufacturer. At UTC he was the company’s CEO for eight years and guided it through one of its most prosperous times in modern history.

Born in 1957, Louis Chenevert was raised in Quebec, Canada. He went on to study production management at HEC Montreal where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree. He went on to hold a number of positions at different companies before being selected to be the new CEO at UTC in 2006. He would go on to greatly impress at this position and, unsurprisingly, a significant portion of his legacy is informed by his time at UTC.
Louis Chenevert’s first few years at the helm of UTC were marked by a global financial crisis. However, despite a crushing recession in the country, he was still able to win some market share for the company. Additionally, he also oversaw the acquisition of Goodrich for an estimated $18.4 billion. By bringing a large manufacturer of aircraft components to the fray, the deal solidified UTC’s high standing in the aerospace industry. The deal also showed Chenevert’s high business acumen level despite the deal taking more than a year to conclude.
Arguably Chenevert’s greatest success, however, was the GTF project. The two-decade, $10 billion project led to the creation of a more efficient engine that was quickly taken up by Airbus. The new engine design reduced emissions by up to 50 percent and noise emissions by up to 75 percent.
Given his numerous achievements, Louis Chenevert’s efforts have not gone unrecognized. He has on numerous occasions been the recipient of an award or honor in recognition of his leadership contributions even after he stepped down from UTC. In 2011, HEC Montreal awarded him with an honorary degree while the publication Aviation Week and Space Technology also named him the person of the year. Two years before that, the National Building Museum gave him an honor award.