“Now is the time to transition leadership to people of an age to guide the company through its next phase of growth,” says Altria CEO.
Altria has announced that Chairman and CEO Michael Szymanczyk, 63, has decided to retire after 23 years of distinguished service to the company, including four years as chairman and CEO of Altria and 12 years as president and CEO of Philip Morris USA (PM USA).
The Board of Directors has elected Martin Barrington, 58, to serve as Altria’s new chairman and CEO, effective upon Szymanczyk’s retirement following the Annual Meeting of Shareholders on May 17, 2012. The Board also has elected Barrington to Altria’s Board, effective immediately.
Additionally, the Board elected David Beran, 57, to serve as Altria’s president and chief operating officer, effective May 17, 2012, and approved a consulting agreement with Szymanczyk for an initial period ending Jan. 31, 2014.
“It has been an extraordinary experience to lead the reshaping of Altria following the completion of the Kraft and Philip Morris International spin-offs,” said Szymanczyk. “I believe the company is well positioned to continue to prosper. As I near retirement, now is the time to transition leadership to people of an age to guide the company through its next phase of growth.”
“We are grateful for Mike Szymanczyk’s tremendous contributions to the company and its shareholders and are particularly pleased that he is willing to continue to share his expertise and insights through a consulting arrangement,” said Thomas Farrell, the presiding director. “Our choice of Mr. Barrington at this time as the next chairman and CEO is the culmination of our systematic succession planning process. We are very enthusiastic about his proven ability to provide the vision and leadership necessary for this company to continue both to build its strong tobacco and wine core businesses and to develop new revenue opportunities in an era of expanding FDA regulation and evolving adult tobacco consumer preferences.”
“It is a real honor to follow Mike Szymanczyk in this role,” Barrington said. “He has led the company with exceptional skill, commitment and passion through Altria’s reshaping, including the expansion and diversification of Altria’s tobacco platform into the cigar and smokeless tobacco businesses. We are very fortunate to have someone with Dave Beran’s capabilities and experience to serve as president and chief operating officer, and I look forward to working with Dave and Altria’s terrific management team to continue to achieve superior shareholder returns.”
Barrington has held various roles in the Altria family of companies since 1993, including, most recently, as vice chairman. He has also served as general counsel of both PM USA and Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI). In these and other roles he has participated in the work of virtually every business function of the Altria family of companies, through direct business responsibility for regulatory and external affairs, research and development, human resources and compliance, as well as working closely with marketing, sales, strategy and business development and operations. He has a B.A. from the College of Saint Rose and a J.D. from Albany Law School.
Beran joined the Altria family of companies in 1976 and has held leadership positions in finance, operations, planning and information, market research and marketing, most recently as vice chairman responsible for business operations. He has a B.S. from the University of Virginia and an M.B.A. from the University of Richmond.