British American Tobacco - Jerome Abelman

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Jerome Abelman

Director, Legal and External Affairs and General Counsel

I was appointed Director, General Counsel and Legal and External Affairs (LEX) in May 2015, having joined the Management Board as Director of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs in January of the same year. 

In my role, I work with my leadership team to identify the strategic priorities which LEX managers should consider depending on their local environment – across areas including legal, compliance and regulation – in order to support the delivery of the Group strategy.

A Better Tomorrow™

Our A Better Tomorrow™ vision is about much more than our products. It’s about having a balanced mindset. We must continue to excel in combustibles and use the benefit of that excellence by investing in a part of the business that we think will continue to grow into the future.

My top priority has been and remains our ‘Delivery with Integrity’ programme. This programme, led by the Business Conduct and Compliance team within LEX and embraced by all of BAT, is about ensuring that everyone at BAT as well as our partners recognises that they are responsible for working to the highest standards of corporate conduct and ethical values at all times, everywhere we operate – all of which is part of BAT’s Ethos. LEX is also greatly focused on the area of regulation of New Categories, where we support balanced regulation based on scientific and other evidence to achieve robust product standards and responsible marketing practices while at the same time preventing under-age access.

I grew up in New York and I’m a member of the Bar of both New York and the District of Columbia.  My first experience with BAT was when I was on secondment from a New York City law firm to London in 2001. Little did I know I’d still be with the company all these years later! I joined BAT full-time in 2002 and became General Counsel for the Australasian group of companies, based in Sydney.

One of the things that enticed me to BAT was the company’s diversity – of people, backgrounds, cultures and geographies. That diversity remains one of the great things about working here and is our greatest strength as a company.

Nationality: American

Career to date

  • 2002: Joins BAT and moves to Sydney, Australia as Area General Counsel, Australasia
  • 2005: Returns to London, as Assistant General Counsel, Head of Global Regulation Counselling. Focus was on working with Corporate and Regulatory Affairs, Group R&D and Marketing
  • 2010: Moves to Hong Kong as Regional General Counsel for BAT’s Asia-Pacific region
  • 2014: Moves back to London, taking up the role of Assistant General Counsel, Head of Corporate and Commercial Legal. Focus was on counselling M&A, IP, marketing, employment and IT
  • 2015: Becomes Director, Legal and External Affairs and General Counsel, having joined the Management Board as Group Corporate and Regulatory Affairs Director in January 2015


  • BA in History from Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Juris Doctor cum laude from the Pace University School of Law in New York

Personal interests

Keeping fit keeps me focused and I train  every morning. I enjoy competitions and have entered a number of indoor rowing competitions, including the British Indoor Rowing Championships. I also enjoy CrossFit and Hyrox, a relatively new competition.  Dogs are a big part of our family life, and my wife, daughters and I have been lucky enough to have a German Shepard and Bernese Mountain Dog as part of our family.