Axalta Appoints Villavarayan to Dual Leadership Role

Axalta recently announced the appointment of Chris Villavarayan (pictured) as its CEO and president effective January 1, 2023. Photo courtesy of Axalta.

Global coatings supplier Axalta Coating Systems Ltd. (Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, USA) announced the appointment of Chris Villavarayan as chief executive officer (CEO) and president, as well as a member of the company’s board of directors, effective January 1, 2023. 

At that time, Rakesh Sachdev, who has served as interim CEO and president, will succeed Bill Cook as non-executive board chair. As for Cook, he will continue to serve as an independent director and member of the audit committee, and he will also take on a new role as chair of the board’s compensation 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,” says 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 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.” 

Villavarayan is a proven global executive with more than two decades of diverse operational and management experience in industrial sectors. Most recently, he served as CEO and president of Meritor, Inc., where he positioned the company as a global industry leader of commercial vehicle drivetrains and engineered systems. He brings an established track record of driving growth, expanding margins, and managing complex global operations. 

“I am excited to join Axalta, a company with a proud 150-year history that I have long admired,” says Villavarayan. “I am eager to leverage my experience to build on the team’s work to position the business for accelerated growth and market leadership. 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.” 

“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,” says 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.” 

Source: Axalta,