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|ALTRIA GROUP, INC. filed this Form 8-K on 02/01/2018|
As previously announced, a conference call with the investment community and news media will be webcast on February 1, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time. Access to the webcast is available at www.altria.com/webcasts and via the Altria Investor app.
Chairman and CEO Transition
Altria announces today that Marty Barrington has decided to retire later this year at age 65, having completed more than 25 years of distinguished service, including six years as Chairman and CEO. The Board has elected Howard Willard, 54, to serve as Altria’s Chairman and CEO, effective May 17, 2018, at the conclusion of the 2018 Annual Meeting of Shareholders (2018 Annual Meeting). The Board also elected Mr. Willard to Altria’s Board, effective February 1, 2018.
Mr. Willard has served in numerous senior leadership roles during his 25-year career at the company. These include his current position of Chief Operating Officer and prior roles as Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Strategy and Business Development. He also was a director of SABMiller plc (SABMiller).
Additionally, the Board elected Billy Gifford, 47, to serve as Altria’s Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer, also effective May 17, 2018, at the conclusion of the 2018 Annual Meeting. Mr. Gifford’s 23-year career includes his current position as Altria’s Chief Financial Officer and prior roles as Altria’s Senior Vice President, Strategy and Business Development and President and CEO of Philip Morris USA. Mr. Gifford is currently a director at Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV (AB InBev).
“It has been an enormous privilege to lead our great company with a talented leadership team and terrific employees,” said Mr. Barrington. “Howard has been essential to that team and is immensely qualified and ready to take Altria forward when I step away in May. Billy likewise has been an essential contributor to our strategies and successful operating performance. Together, they have the confidence of me and the Board of Directors to continue Altria’s enduring success.”
“The Board is grateful for Marty’s extraordinary leadership the last several years, as Altria has outperformed our competitive benchmarks,” said Thomas Farrell, the Presiding Director. “Our election of Howard as the next Chairman and CEO is the result of our long-term succession planning process. We believe he has the proven leadership skills, track record and strategic mindset to lead the next chapter of Altria’s remarkable story.”
“I’m honored to be elected to follow Marty in this role,” said Mr. Willard. “He leads the company with decisive leadership and clarity, and during the past six years of his leadership, the company has been tremendously successful. I look forward to building on that success with Billy Gifford, our strong