James Hardie appoints CEO and CFOJames Hardie today announced the appointments of Mr Louis Gries as the company’s Chief Executive Officer, and Mr Russell Chenu as its Chief Financial Officer.Louis was appointed Interim Chief Executive Officer of James Hardie in October 2004. Before this, he was Executive Vice President Operations. Louis joined James Hardie as Manager of the Fontana fibre cement plant in California in February 1991 and was appointed President of James Hardie Building Products (USA) in December 1993. He became Executive Vice President Operations in January 2003, responsible for operations, sales and marketing in our pipes and fibre cement businesses in the Americas, Asia Pacific and Europe.Before he joined James Hardie, Louis worked for 13 years for USG Corp, in a variety of roles inresearch, plant quality and production, product and plant management. He has a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from the University of Illinois and an MBA from California State University, Long Beach, USA.Russell is an experienced corporate and finance executive who has held senior finance andmanagement positions with a number of Australian publicly listed companies.In a number of these senior roles, he has been engaged in significant strategic businessplanning and business change, including several turnarounds, new market expansions and management leadership initiatives.The Chairman of James Hardie, Meredith Hellicar, said the appointments after such a short time inthe interim roles as CEO and CFO recognised the skills and experience that both executivesbrought to their roles. “Louis’s operational experience and knowledge of James Hardie allow him to step into the role of CEO with confidence and skill,” she said. “The company’s continuing strong operating performance, particularly in the United States, reflects the stability and guidance that Louis has provided over what has been a time of considerable change and challenge.”Ms Hellicar also praised the work of Russell Chenu in his interim role as CFO. “Russell has already made a significant contribution to James Hardie, successfully overseeing the company’s financial operations, and playing a pivotal role in negotiating the asbestos compensation Heads ofAgreement that James Hardie signed in December 2004,” she said.”In Russell and Louis, we have strong, capable executives to lead James Hardie’s strategicdirection and operational and financial performance into the future.”
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