Management Board changes at British American Tobacco
20 November 2014
Des Naughton, Managing Director - Nicoventures, has decided to leave the BAT Group in order to focus on new business opportunities. Des will leave BAT on 28th February 2015 after nearly 20 years with the Group, four of which as part of the Management Board, including Group Operations Director and Regional Director - Eastern Europe.
Chief Executive Officer, Nicandro Durante, commented: "We will miss Des' passion for the business, strategic thinking and warmth of personality. Des has built a strong foundation for the Group for us to compete and win in Next Generation products. He, and the legacy he leaves, will be long remembered by his colleagues and friends in the company. On behalf of BAT, I thank Des for all he has done for the Group."
Kingsley Wheaton, currently Group Corporate & Regulatory Affairs Director, will be appointed Managing Director - Next Generation Products with effect from 1st January 2015. This new role will include leadership of ‘tobacco heating products' which will be managed alongside our emerging nicotine businesses. Kingsley has been with the company for 18 years and a member of the Management Board since 2012.
Kingsley Wheaton will be succeeded as Group Corporate & Regulatory Affairs Director by Jerome (Jerry) Abelman, currently Assistant General Counsel - Corporate & Commercial, also with effect from 1st January 2015. Jerry has been with the BAT Group for 12 years. Prior to his current role, Jerry was most recently Regional General Counsel - Asia Pacific.
We are also taking this opportunity to announce that Neil Withington, Group Legal Director & General Counsel, has indicated his preference to retire from the Management Board and leave the Group, as of 30th April 2015. Neil has had an extensive senior leadership career with BAT. Joining BAT Industries in 1993 as a senior mergers and acquisitions lawyer, Neil was appointed to his current role on the Management Board in 2000. Neil has also been a director of our associate business in the US, Reynolds American, for the last 10 years.
Following Neil's departure from the business, the Group's Legal and Corporate & Regulatory Affairs functions will be integrated under Jerry Abelman's leadership.
Paying tribute to Neil, Nicandro commented: "Neil's farewell to the business comes after a distinguished 21 years with Group. Leading the Legal function he has been an outstanding General Counsel and a trusted advisor to the Board. Neil also leaves a very significant legacy and, on behalf of the entire organisation, I would like to thank Neil for all that he has achieved over his career with BAT."
Further remarking on these moves, Nicandro added: "I am pleased to welcome Jerry to the Management Board. He will enhance the team with his substantial experience of the business and regulatory matters in particular. Furthermore, as Managing Director - Next Generation Products, Kingsley will bring the combination of his energetic leadership, marketing background and corporate affairs experience to this critical role."