Zean Nielsen is Cirrus Aircraft’s new chief executive officer.

Nielsen has held senior leadership roles at a range of global world-class organizations, including Tesla Motors, James Hardie and Bang & Olufsen.

He succeeds company co-founder Dale Klapmeier, who announced in December that he planned to step down from his executive position during the first half of 2019.

“Cirrus Aircraft has a remarkably bright future ahead,” Klapmeier said in a news release. “We are fortunate to have someone of Zean’s caliber and experience to lead us into the next era of growth. I am looking forward to moving into a senior advisory role and continuing to work with our exceptional team on reinventing the future of personal transportation.”

Nielsen most recently served as the executive vice president of North American Sales at James Hardie, a leading industrial building materials company.

“I am honored and humbled to join this team of experienced general aviation leaders and a world-class workforce as we continue to bring game-changing products and services to market,” Nielsen said. “Our mission is to deliver an aviation experience that is the pinnacle of innovation, quality and safety to our customers — and that is exactly what we will continue to do for many years to come.”

Prior to his role at James Hardie, Nielsen ran Tesla Motors’ worldwide sales operations efforts as the vice president of Global Sales Operations. Zean began his career at Bang & Olufsen, the luxury electronics maker, where over a 17-year career he ascended to more senior roles before he ultimately became the president of Bang & Olufsen North and South America prior to joining Tesla Motors.

Nielsen assumed the CEO role at Cirrus Aircraft on Monday.

Cirrus, with its Vision Center at McGhee Tyson Airport and corporate headquarters in Duluth, Minnesota, is the recognized global leader in personal aviation and maker of the best-selling SR Series piston aircraft and the Vision Jet, the world’s first single-engine Personal Jet.

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