Troy’s Meritor, a global supplier of drivetrain, mobility, braking, and aftermarket solutions, today announced Jay Craig, CEO and president, will become executive chairman, while Chris Villavarayan, executive vice president and COO, will become CEO and president and join the company’s board.
“With our M2022 plan well underway, now is an ideal time to begin a leadership transition,” Craig says. “Chris has been an integral member of our leadership team and my partner in executing successful M2016 and M2019 plans.
“I am confident he will build upon Meritor’s long track record of serving customers, driving shareholder value, and supporting our global employees. I am excited to continue working closely with Chris and supporting Meritor’s ongoing success as executive chairman.”
Craig will leave his position on Feb. 28. Meritor’s current chairman, William R. Newlin, will become lead director of the board as part of the transition plan.
“Under Jay’s leadership, Meritor has expanded its product portfolio, strengthened its financial foundation, and delivered significant value to shareholders,” Newlin says. “We look forward to his ongoing contributions as executive chairman of the board.
“As Jay transitions to his new role, we are fortunate to have Chris, who has overseen global operations for the company, in addition to product and customer strategy and supplier relationship management, step in as CEO to help usher in the next phase of growth and innovation.”
Villavarayan joined Meritor in 2000. As executive vice president and COO, he has global operating responsibility for both of Meritor’s business segments: global truck and aftermarket, and industrial and trailer. Previously, he served as senior vice president and president of Meritor’s global truck segment since January 2018.
Before that, Villavarayan served as president of truck Americas, responsible for Meritor’s commercial truck, defense, and specialty businesses in North and South America. He was also responsible for Meritor’s global components engineering, product validation and materials engineering, and engineering and program management.
Also at Meritor, he served as vice president of global manufacturing and supply chain management and managing director for Meritor’s operations in India, leading Meritor Heavy Vehicle Systems (India) Ltd.
Villavarayan has a bachelor’s degree in engineering from McMaster University in Ontario.
“I am deeply honored to assume the CEO role and am energized by the opportunities to advance our technology leadership in the commercial vehicle market,” he says. “Over the last 20 years at Meritor, I have worked alongside some of the best and most innovative talent in the industry.
“I would like to thank Jay for his guidance and support and the board for placing its trust in me. I look forward to building on the successful ‘M’ plans and continuing to partner with Jay and the board, the leadership team, and our employees to further solidify Meritor’s leadership position in our traditional businesses, while also investing in future technologies, such as electric drivetrains.”