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May 17 - British American Tobacco BAT has appointed Tadeu Marroco as chief executive officer to replace Jack Bowles, who will step down on May 15.
Marroco joined BAT in 1992 and was appointed to the BAT board in 2019 as group Controller. He has also served on BAT's management board since 2014, with previous roles including Regional Director for Europe and North Africa and Group Transformation Director. A full search for a new group finance director will now begin.
Javed Iqbal, who has had an extensive career in finance with the group and currently serves as Director of Digital and Information, will take on the role of interim group finance Director until a permanent successor is appointed.
"" Since we developed our Better Tomorrow strategy in 2019, we have gained clear momentum in our new category business, established leadership positions in key markets and are on track to achieve profitability in new categories earlier than originally planned." " BAT chairman Luc Jobin said. "We also continued to deliver solid financial results and returned more than £20 billion [$25.03 billion] to shareholders during the period and on behalf of the Board I would like to thank Jack for his significant contribution as CEO during this important period."
"In order to fully achieve our transformation in a rapidly changing environment, we must continue to evolve as a high-performance and agile consumer products company. In considering succession, the board recognized Marroco's excellent track record in developing teams that have delivered our transformation while always focusing on strong execution and financial performance. We are confident that under his leadership, we will further strengthen our relationships with key stakeholders and continue to build a better tomorrow, creating long-term sustainable value for our shareholders."
"I am honored to be appointed CEO of BAT. I would like to thank Jack, who has been instrumental in developing our strategy for a Better tomorrow." "Marroco said. "Having been central to the development of this strategy, I firmly believe this is the right strategic path for BAT and I remain firmly committed to focusing on delivery of results through execution excellence in this dynamic environment."
"Inclusion and collaboration have been at the core of my leadership approach throughout my 30-year career with this great company, and as the new CEO, my commitment is to foster a passion for BAT for our employees, our consumers and our brands. My management team and I will continue to build an increasingly agile and progressive BAT."
"" It has been a privilege to lead BAT since 2019. "Bowers said. "Over the past four years we have set out to transform the business into a better tomorrow by focusing on the growth of our new category consumer brands, which are close to £3bn in revenue and it is now time for a change of leadership to take the business to the next level."
"As I leave, I thank all my colleagues and the board for their support and dedication to this strategy and the transformation of the business we have achieved. After 20 years with the company, I look forward to my next step. I wish my successor Marroco, who has been our group Finance Director for four years, and the excellent team at BAT all the best. Given the quality of BAT's talent pipeline, I am confident BAT will continue to be successful."
BAT is currently in the midst of a transition, with the sudden departure of Jack Bowles and his replacement by former finance chief Tadeu Marroco a sign that BAT is accelerating the pace and direction of its new strategy.
Bowles himself noted in today's RNS press release that it is time for a change in leadership to take the business to the next level.
The next stage involves the launch of the group's range of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products.
This could be a lucrative market, growing among the younger population, especially with single-use e-cigarettes, which are cheaper and come in a variety of flavors.
The long-term health effects of e-cigarettes are shrouded in fruit-flavored smoke, and with them come challenges that BAT and Marroco must deal with.
Top of the list of challenges are governments that are increasingly focused on health and the environment, which means tobacco manufacturers need to evolve to keep up.
Earlier this year, it was rumoured that UK Public Health Secretary Neil O 'Brien was planning to gather evidence to justify a clampdown on e-cigarettes such as Elf Bars, which taste like sweets and fruit.
Similarly, Australia has banned the import of over-the-counter e-cigarettes, wiping out potential business across the continent.
Investors are also increasingly turning their backs on BAT and other "bad" stocks because of concerns about ESGs, which may go some way to explaining their relatively cheap and high dividend yields.
Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: While these companies are still very cash-generative, they must find new ways to attract investors and convince sceptics.