British American Tobacco Makes Moves to Meet Next-Gen Demand

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British American Tobacco Makes Moves to Meet Next-Gen Demand


WINSTON-SALEM. N.C. — Upon the heels of acquiring Reynolds American Inc. (RAI), British American Tobacco plc (BAT) is preparing for the next generation of tobacco products.

The move to simplify its regional structure and to fully integrate the Next Generation Products (NGPs) business into the core operations of the group reflects "the outstanding growth of this part of our business to date and its long-term importance to the group's future," U.K.-based BAT said.

As previously announced, Debra Crew joined the management board as president and CEO of Reynolds American effective July 27, reporting directly to BAT Chief Executive Nicandro Durante.

In another personnel change, Jack Bowles, regional director, Asia-Pacific, will be appointed to the newly created role of chief operating officer (COO) for the international business, excluding the United States. 

He joined the group in 2004 and has been a member of the management board since October 2009. Bowles will report directly to Durante following the move, effective Oct. 1.

In addition, BAT is simplifying its regional organizational structure to create three new regions:

  • Americas and Sub-Saharan Africa (including East and Central Africa; West Africa and South Africa)
  • Europe and North Africa (including Russia, Ukraine, Caucasus, Central Asia, Belarus, and Turkey)
  • Asia-Pacific and Middle East

BAT is also reorganizing regional director responsibilities as of Jan. 1:

  • Ricardo Oberlander, regional director, Americas, will be appointed regional director, Americas and Sub-Saharan Africa. Oberlander joined the BAT Group in 1989 and has been a member of the management board since January 2013.
  • Tadeu Marroco, regional director, Western Europe, will be appointed regional director, Europe and North Africa. Marroco joined BAT in Brazil more than 20 years ago and has been a member of the management board since September 2014.
  • Johan Vandermeulen, regional director, EEMEA, will be appointed regional director, Asia-Pacific and Middle East. Vandermeulen has been with the BAT Group for more than 20 years and joined the management board in September 2014.

The regional directors will report directly to the COO and continue as members of the management board.

"Now that we have built a successful NGP business which is poised for substantial growth, we will be fully integrating NGP into our existing business infrastructure across the group — both within the functions and the regions — to leverage the scale and expertise of the whole group to drive growth in an area that is fast becoming a key part of our mainstream business," BAT said.

Kingsley Wheaton, managing director, Next Generation Products, will manage the integration process.

In addition, Andrew Gray, director, marketing, will be appointed chief marketing officer, reporting directly to the chief executive, effective Oct. 1. This expanded role combines the areas of marketing and research and development (including innovation and product development) across all categories — combustible cigarettes and NGPs. 

David O'Reilly, Group Scientific and R&D director, remains a member of the management board, and will report to the chief marketing officer under the new structure.

"This new structure will enable better, more integrated resource allocation and decision making across geographies and categories. It creates a truly global multi category business, with NGPs embedded at its heart, to drive continued long-term success," the company added.

London-based BAT is a global tobacco group with brands sold in more than 200 markets. In July, it acquired Winston-Salem based RAI, parent company of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co. Inc., American Snuff Co. LLC, Niconovum USA Inc., Niconovum AB and R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co.