United Technologies Corporation Chairman & CEO Louis Chenevert has had an impressive run at the top of one of America’s premier manufacturing enterprises, keeping his company on the cutting edge of building and aerospace technology while delivering twice the shareholder returns of typical Dow Jones Industrial companies over the past ten years. How does he do it, while maintaining a big industrial footprint in the high-cost Northeast? This week I visited with him at his headquarters in Hartford, Connecticut and got some answers. The Chenevert strategy is to focus on a family of complimentary technologies that are balanced across diverse markets — commercial and military, domestic and foreign, new manufacture and aftermarket. That takes a great deal of discipline and attention to detail, but it also takes imagination because as Chenevert told me, if you miss the boat in long-cycle businesses like aircraft propulsion, you may not be able to get back in the money for decades. So you have to make bets on where you think the market is headed over the long run. United Technologies has done that in products like the energy-efficient Gen2 family of elevators and the ultra-quiet geared turbofan commercial engine, fashioning a forward-looking business mix that will benefit shareholders and stakeholders alike. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
Find Archived Articles: