British American Tobacco - Kingsley Wheaton

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Kingsley Wheaton

Chief Growth Officer

I doubt there has ever been a more exciting time to be at BAT. We are combining our experience in R&D, innovation and consumer insights to deliver A Better Tomorrow™ with our growing portfolio of inspiring New Category products.

A Better Tomorrow™

Our ambition is to lead the transformation of our industry through rewarding consumer experiences, powered by leading-edge innovation, technology and dynamic brands. We have a successful track record of delivering and, by continuing to do so in New Categories, we will reinforce the sustainability of the Group – providing multi-stakeholder value.

Over the last three years as Chief Marketing Officer, I have been responsible for overseeing BAT’s marketing efforts to drive value from combustibles while ensuring a step-change in our New Categories performance. As of 1 September 2022,  my role was redesignated as Chief Growth Officer, maintaining my responsibility for Marketing, Corporate Affairs and ESG.

ESG is front and centre of our Group strategy and I will ensure that we deliver on our ESG priorities –  with a principal focus on reducing the health impact of our business. That BAT’s Chief Sustainability Officer reports to me demonstrates the increasing strategic importance of both ESG and sustainability for the Group.

So it’s no wonder I am as excited to come to work today as I was when I first joined BAT more than 25 years ago!

I had an international upbringing, so perhaps it was only natural that, after university, I wanted to work for a truly global company and why, in 1996, I didn’t hesitate to respond to an advertisement for a role at Rothmans International, which merged with BAT in 1999.

The industry and the global nature of the business absolutely fascinated me – as it still does today – and I’ve never looked back. For me, the magic of BAT is that you can experience careers within a career. Having started out in Dubai, I’ve had the great pleasure to lead teams and businesses in places as diverse as the Middle East, West Africa, Russia and London before I joined the Management Board in 2012 as Director of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs.

My leadership mantra has always been ‘lead as you would like to be led’ and I am passionate about the importance of cross-cultural leadership in a business like ours. By moving around a global company you develop unique leadership capabilities and I believe great leaders at BAT learn to influence, excite and energise people of many different nationalities and backgrounds.

That was certainly an important requirement in my previous role on the Management Board as Regional Director of Americas and Sub-Saharan Africa. In the marketing element of my role, while global perspective is vital, we will continue to use the best consumer insights to ensure we meet the diverse and evolving preferences of our consumers in all the countries in which we operate.

Nationality: British

Career to date

  • 1996: Joins Rothmans International, which merges with BAT in 1999, as Group Brand Manager for the Middle East
  • 1999: Moves to the Ivory Coast as Marketing Development Manager across 25 West African countries
  • 2001: Joins BAT’s fledgling business in Nigeria as Marketing Director
  • 2004: After eight years in the Middle East and Africa, moves to Moscow to become Marketing Director for BAT Russia
  • 2007: Appointed General Manager of BAT Russia
  • 2010: Moves to our head office in London to lead the brand group responsible for Kent, Vogue and Kool
  • 2012: Joins BAT’s Management Board as Director of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs
  • 2015: Becomes Managing Director for Next Generation Products
  • 2018: Further broadens his experience with a regional role as Director for the Americas and Sub-Saharan Africa
  • 2019: Becomes Chief Marketing Officer
  • 2022: Chief Marketing Officer role redesignated as Chief Growth Officer

Education

  • BA in Economics from Royal Holloway, University of London, UK

Personal interests

I’m married and have three children, and my main passions are spending time with my family and cooking – my ambition is to enter MasterChef one day, it would be an amazing challenge. I am also a big rugby fan; my playing days are over, but I was proud to captain my university’s rugby team and, during my time in Nigeria, to play a part in the development of Racing Club in Lagos. I'm a fan of many other sports, including F1, tennis and cricket. I also enjoy wine and writing poetry.

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