Senior management

James Hardie Management Team
Our management is overseen by our management team, whose members cover the key areas of fibre cement research and development, production, manufacturing, sales, human resources, investor relations, finance and legal.

Members of our management team are:

Louis Gries BSc, MBA
Chief Executive Officer
Age 64

Photo Louis Gries April 2017

Louis Gries joined James Hardie as Manager of the Fontana fiber cement plant in California in February 1991 and was appointed President of James Hardie Building Products, Inc. in December 1993. Mr Gries became Executive Vice President – Operations in January 2003, responsible for operations, sales and marketing in our businesses in the Americas, Asia Pacific and Europe.

He was appointed Interim Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) in October 2004 and became CEO in February 2005. In addition to being the Company’s CEO, Mr Gries is responsible for managing the Company’s fiber cement operations in North America.

Before he joined James Hardie, Mr Gries worked for 13 years for USG Corp, including a variety of roles in research, plant quality and production, and product and plant management.

Mr Gries has a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from the University of Illinois, USA and an MBA from California State University, Long Beach, USA.


Matthew Marsh BA, MBA
Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President, Corporate
Age 43

Photo Matthew Marsh April 2017

Matthew Marsh joined James Hardie as Chief Financial Officer (“CFO”) in June 2013. As CFO he oversees the Company’s overall financial activities, including accounting, tax, treasury, performance and competitor analysis, internal audit and financial operations.

Effective 16 October 2015, Mr Marsh’s role was expanded to include the role of Executive Vice President – Corporate. In this role, Mr Marsh continues his oversight of the Company’s overall financial management in addition to the oversight of James Hardie’s information systems, legal and compliance, and investor and media relations functions.

After a 16-year career at General Electric Company (“GE”), Mr Marsh brings a strong background in financial management. Before joining James Hardie, Mr Marsh most recently served as CFO of GE Healthcare’s IT business. Prior to being named CFO of GE Healthcare IT, Mr Marsh oversaw the finance operations for GE Healthcare’s US Healthcare Systems and US Diagnostic Imaging businesses.

Prior to those appointments, Mr Marsh travelled globally with the GE Internal Audit Staff gaining extensive experience in several industries including appliances, information services, distribution and supply, aviation, plastics, financial services, capital markets and healthcare, across more than twenty countries. Mr Marsh has graduated from GE’s Financial Management Program (FMP).

Mr Marsh has a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Public Affairs from Syracuse University, USA and an MBA from University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, USA.


Zean Nielsen

Executive Vice President, Sales

Age 40

Zean Nielson Photo March 2018

Zean Nielsen joined James Hardie as Executive Vice President, Sales in August 2017. Mr Nielsen brings 20 years of Sales, Marketing and overall P&L experience to James Hardie from his time with Bang and Olufsen and Tesla Motors. As EVP of Sales, Mr Nielsen is responsible for overseeing all aspects of our North American sales organization.

Most recently, Mr Nielsen held senior leadership roles at Tesla Motors, serving as the Vice President of EMEA as well as Global Vice President of Sales Operations over a three and a half year period. Mr Nielsen started his career at Bang and Olufsen in 1997. During his 17-year tenure, he held positions in International Distribution Development, Retail, Marketing and Sales in North America and Asia Pacific before being promoted to the role of President of North and South America.

Mr Nielsen is Danish and has a business degree from the Herning Graduate School of Business in Denmark.


Joe Blasko BSFS, JD
General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer
Age 51

Photo Joe Blasko April 2017

Joe Blasko joined James Hardie as General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer in June 2011.

Before joining James Hardie, Mr Blasko was Assistant General Counsel, and later, the General Counsel at Liebert Corporation, an Emerson Network Power Systems company and wholly-owned subsidiary of Emerson Electric Co. In his four years with Liebert/Emerson, Mr Blasko was responsible for establishing the legal department in Columbus, Ohio, managing and overseeing all legal matters and working closely with the executive management team. In this role, Mr Blasko also had global responsibilities which required expertise across multiple jurisdictions.

04 to 2006, Mr Blasko was Associate General Counsel at The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, serving as the effective “general counsel” to numerous corporate divisions within the organization. From 1997 to 2004, Mr Blasko gained considerable regulatory and litigation expertise working at Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP in Ohio.

Mr Blasko has a Juris Doctor from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, USA and a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University, USA, with a specialty in International Relations, Law and Organizations.


Jack Truong BS, PhD
President, International

Age 55

Photo Jack Truong April 2017

Dr Jack Truong joined James Hardie as President, International Operations in April 2017. Prior to James Hardie, he was the President and Chief Executive Officer, Electrolux North America and Executive Vice President, AB Electrolux Group. Dr Truong also spent 22 years at 3M Company where he held senior leadership roles in Europe, Asia Pacific, and the United States, including President of their Construction & Home Improvements division and Office Supplies division. He began his career at IBM and Polaroid Corporation.

Dr Truong has been active in serving on boards of leading professional associations. He has received numerous national honors and awards for outstanding business accomplishments as well as his humanitarian work with non-profit organizations.

Dr Truong holds BS and PhD degrees in Chemical Engineering from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York. Dr Truong is the recipient of 11 US patents and several international patents.


Sean Gadd BEng, MBA
Executive Vice President, Markets and Segments
Age 45

Photo Sean Gadd April 2017

Sean Gadd joined James Hardie in 2004 as a Regional Engineering Manager for the Asia Pacific business, and progressed to Plant Manager for both the Carole Park and Rosehill facilities in Australia. Mr Gadd then moved to the US in 2006 to take the role of Manufacturing Manager for Trim and various manufacturing facilities across the US.

In 2009, Mr Gadd ran the US trim business for James Hardie with responsibility for both Manufacturing and Sales, followed by a brief assignment leading Supply Chain. In 2012, Mr Gadd was promoted to the role of Vice President of Sales for Western USA and Canada. Over the next year, his role was expanded to include the Midwest and Northeast of the USA.

Mr Gadd was appointed Executive General Manager in September 2013 with full responsibility for the Northern Division. In October 2015, he was appointed Executive Vice President, Markets and Segments, North America with responsibility for Strategic Marketing and Development.

Mr Gadd has a Bachelor of Engineering in Manufacturing Management and an executive MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management, Australia.


Ryan Kilcullen BSc, MS
Executive Vice President, Operations
Age 37


Photo Ryan Kilcullen April 2017

Ryan Kilcullen joined James Hardie in 2007 as a PcI/PdI Engineer. Since then, he has worked for the Company in various manufacturing and supply chain roles including Process Engineer, Production Manager, and Supply Chain Engineer. In 2012, he became Supply Chain Manager, ColorPlus Business Unit, responsible for the end-to- end design and performance of our ColorPlus product line supply chain. In 2013, he became responsible for North American Supply Chain operations, with responsibilities that included Procurement, Network Planning, Production Planning, Transportation, Distribution Management, Customer Service, and Inside Sales. In June 2015, he was appointed Vice President – Central Operations, responsible for the Company’s Supply Chain Operations and Centralized Manufacturing functions.

In August 2016, he was appointed Executive Vice President – Operations, responsible for the Company’s Supply Chain, Manufacturing, Engineering and Environmental, Health & Safety Operations.

Mr Kilcullen has a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Master of Engineering in Logistics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Dave Merkley BSc (Construction)
Executive Vice President, Manufacturing and Engineering
Age 55

Dave Merkley photo

Dave Merkley first joined James Hardie in 1994 as Plant Manager of the Fontana, California facility in the United States. Mr Merkley has held a number of roles with the Company including US R&D Manager and US Manufacturing Manager, before being promoted to the position of Executive Vice President, Operations and Manufacturing with global responsibility in 2002.

In 2006, Mr Merkley left James Hardie and worked as a consultant in the building products industry, gaining experience in composite building material and wood polymer composites decking and fencing. Mr Merkley rejoined James Hardie in October 2016 and was promoted to the role of Executive Vice President, Manufacturing and Engineering in November 2017.

Prior to joining James Hardie in 1994, Mr Merkley held various engineering positions in the civil construction industry, including heavy highway and infrastructure construction.

Collectively Mr Merkley has over 30 years relevant industry experience and holds a Bachelor of Science in Construction from Arizona State University.


Jason Miele BA
Vice President, Investor and Media Relations 
Age 41

Photo Jason Miele April 2017

Jason Miele was appointed to the position of Vice President – Investor and Media Relations in February 2017. Mr Miele has responsibility for overseeing the Company’s investor relations strategy and successful interface with external audiences, communicating the Company’s business strategy and its financial performance to various stakeholders including shareholders, investment analysts, and the financial media.

Mr Miele has 20 years of relevant professional experience, including 11 years of experience with James Hardie, where he has served in various finance and operational support roles, most recently as James Hardie’s Group Controller, a position he has held since 2013.

Mr Miele has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara, where he graduated with a degree in Business Economics with an emphasis in Accounting.


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