Reynolds American Inc., the second-biggest U.S. cigarette company, announced last week that Chairman, President and CEO Susan M. Ivey plans retire in February 2011 after leading the company since its 2004 merger with Brown & Williamson.
Over the last few years the maker of Camel and Pall Mall cigarettes and Kodiak and Grizzly smokeless tobacco, has worked to transform the Winston-Salem, N.C., company's business model. The strategy has focused on key growth brands like Camel and Pall Mall, as well as other support brands at various prices.
Reynolds American also has focused on becoming a "total tobacco company," with an emphasis on growing its smokeless tobacco business with products like dissolvable tobacco, finely milled tobacco shaped into orbs, sticks and strips, and snus, small pouches like tea bags that users stick between the cheek and gum.
In a conference call with analysts regarding the company's third-quarter earnings, Daniel Delen, head of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and the incoming CEO of Reynolds American, discussed the company's strategy going forward.
QUESTION: Are there certain things you envision over the next few years putting a greater or reduced emphasis on than has been over the last several years at the company?
RESPONSE: Susan and I have been working very closely together now for a number of years and she's really leaving the company in a fantastic shape. I'm not planning any significant changes to our strategic direction. Now does that mean we won't need to react to certain things going on in the marketplace or the environment? Of course we will.