September 24, 2023

British American Tobacco has named its chief financial officer, Tadeu Marroco, as the new chief executive, who will take over immediately.

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Marroco, who has been with the tobacco giant FTSE 100 since 1992, is replacing boss Jack Bowles, who is stepping down after four years at the helm and twenty years at the company.

The change in leadership comes as cigarette maker Lucky Strike and Dunhill is transforming as it shifts its focus to vaping products and e-cigarettes.

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Leaving: BAT chief executive Jack Bowles steps down after four years at the helm

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Marroco, who joined the board in 2019, has previously held other positions in the group, including Regional Director for Europe and North Africa and Director of Group Transformation.

“Being at the forefront of developing this strategy, I am convinced that this is the right strategic path for BAT,” Marroco said in a statement.

BAT shares were virtually unchanged on Monday, trading just 0.2% higher at £27.15 by market close.

During Bowles’ tenure, which began in April 2019, they fell about 18 percent, peaking in February 2022 but under pressure from last year’s high.

Sales of vaping products and e-cigarettes have grown in recent years and are now worth almost £3 billion.

“It’s time for a leadership change to take the business to the next level,” Bowles said.

Chairman Luc Jobin added, “To fully realize our transformation in a rapidly changing environment, we must continue to evolve as a high performing and agile consumer products company.

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“In considering the succession issue, the Board recognized Tadeu’s outstanding experience in developing the teams that drive our transformation, as well as the ongoing focus on high performance and financial performance.”

The change comes a month after BAT agreed to pay more than $635 million (£511 million) to US authorities after the subsidiary pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to violate US sanctions by selling tobacco products to North Korea and committing banking fraud.

The group is also facing calls from a major investor to drop its London listing in favor of New York after more than a century.

“We believe Tadeu Marroco is a worthy successor … and we do not expect a broader strategy change as a result,” JP Morgan analysts said.

Director Javed Iqbal will act as chief financial officer while the group looks for a permanent replacement for Marroco, the company said in a statement.