Gregory Hayes, Chairman and CEO of United Technologies Corporation, recently reflected back on what has led to the company’s continued success in the building and aerospace sectors. Building on the legacy of former CEO Louis Chenevert, the company continues to focus on innovation and on investment in its people.
Chenevert, who came up through prominent roles at General Motors and at Pratt & Whitney, stepped into the CEO role in 2006. He led the company through the 2008 recession, creating the textbook case of a manufacturing company that could succeed and thrive despite an overall downturn in the sector.
Under the Quebec native’s leadership, UTC generated twice the average Dow Jones Industrial and S&P 500 shareholder return from 2003 to 2013. By the time he stepped down as CEO in 2016, UTC had solidified its reputation for excellence and innovation.
In the CEO role, Chenevert focused the importance of innovation to stay ahead of the competition. Under Hayes’ leadership, the company continues to drive forward with new products, such as the Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbofan (GTF) engine. UTC’s $10 billion investment in this project has paid off with more than a dozen airlines adopting the new technology. Pratt & Whitney’s innovations alone support manufacturing jobs in six states and have supply and service chains that stretch even further. Almost $40 billion has been directed to U.S.-based suppliers, who provide the majority of the new engine’s parts.
Investment in human capital has been a focus for both CEOs. Chenevert sustained the highly popular Employee Scholar Program, which supports employees who want to continue their education. Employees have earned nearly 40,000 degrees through this program in the last 20 years, bringing new ideas, energy, and innovation to UTC.
Investing in new talent is a priority for UTC, with plans to bring onboard more than 20,000 new employees in the U.S. And as a global business, UTC keeps an eye out for smart investments and partnership abroad. Following Chenevert’s lead, though, the business keeps its focus at home as it works to encourage a healthy domestic business and regulatory environment that will ensure UTC’s success in the future.
Watch Chenevert speak here: