Mystery Surrounds UTC Change of Command
Financial analysts expressed surprise at the announcement. Generally, corporate leadership changes are flagged well in advance.
Investors and employees have been left baffled by the sudden resignation of Louis Chenevert, the chief executive of United Technologies.
Chenevert, 57, had led the Hartford-based conglomerate for six years, and there had been no warning of a possible move on his part. But UTC abruptly announced Monday that he has been replaced, effective immediately, by chief financial officer Greg Hayes. Chenevert also stepped down as chairman of the board. That job will be filled by another board member, Edward Kangas.
Financial analysts expressed surprise at the announcement. Generally, corporate leadership changes are flagged well in advance, and Chenevert was thought to have been preparing to present to analysts at a meeting in mid-December.
Robert Stallard of RBC Capital Markets described the announcement as "out of the blue." But he doesn't view the change to Hayes as necessarily a negative, calling him highly competent. "Chenevert had traditionally projected a more optimistic outlook than Hayes," said Stallard, "and so a more restrained view on the outlook could be an immediate impact of this CEO change."
Chenevert’s watch was marked by a reshaping of UTC’s portfolio. He engineered the $18 billion acquisition of aerospace parts maker Goodrich. He also reorganized the company’s business segments, and he was at the helm for the announcement of a reinvestment in Connecticut, the planned building of a new $500 million headquarters for Pratt and Whitney, and other upgraded facilities.
Chenevert's tenure was also recently marred by embarrassments at the jet engine maker, where a high-profile engine fire grounded the F35 joint strike fighter program earlier this year.
A spokesman for UTC said the change in command has nothing to do with UTC’s financial performance.