Axalta Names New CEO Appointment
Global liquid and powder coatings supplier Axalta Coating Systems Ltd. recently announced the appointment of Chris Villavarayan as Chief Executive Officer and President and member of its Board of Directors. The change is effective Jan. 1, 2023.
Rakesh Sachdev, who has served as interim CEO and president, will succeed Bill Cook as non-executive board chair. Cook will serve as an independent director and become Chair of the Board’s Compensation Committee, while also continuing to serve on the Audit Committee.
“On behalf of the entire Axalta Board and management team, I am delighted to welcome Chris as our company’s next CEO, and I want to thank Rakesh for his leadership during the transition period,” said Cook. “Chris’s appointment follows a comprehensive search process to identify a strong leader for the company, and he joins Axalta with the full support of our Board.
“Chris is a seasoned executive who will bring to Axalta his global operating experience, deep expertise in product development and manufacturing and a proven record of driving outstanding business results. Over the course of his career, Chris has distinguished himself by defining and executing innovative and forward-looking growth strategies. We are confident that he will be an outstanding CEO with the skillsets necessary to achieve our strategic objectives and accelerate shareholder value.”
According to the company’s release, Villavarayan brings more than two decades of operational and management experience in industrial sectors. Most recently, he has served as CEO and president of Meritor, Inc.
Additionally, he has an “established track record of driving growth, expanding margins and managing complex global operations resulting in significant shareholder value creation.”
“We have every confidence that, under Chris’s leadership, Axalta will be better positioned than ever to successfully execute our strategic imperatives to drive profitable growth,” said Sachdev. “I want to thank Bill for his exceptional service as Board Chair, and I am honored to step into the role at the start of the new year. I look forward to working closely with Chris and the Board to generate meaningful value for shareholders.”
Prior to his most recent position as CEO at Meritor, Villavarayan held positions as chief operating officer, senior vice president and president – Global Truck and president – Americas. Prior to its acquisition by Cummins Inc. in August 2022, Meritor reportedly had global sales of approximately $4 billion.
“I am excited to join Axalta, a company with a proud 150-year history that I have long admired. I am eager to leverage my experience to build on the team’s work to position the business for accelerated growth and market leadership,” said Villavarayan.
“I look forward to working alongside the Board, Axalta’s management and the global team to lead the company toward realizing its strategic value to benefit all our stakeholders.”
Villavarayan earned his bachelor’s degree of civil engineering from McMaster University, as well as completed the Wharton Executive Education Advanced Finance Program. He currently serves as a director on the board of Franklin Electric and Focus: HOPE, a Detroit-based, non-profit organization.