British American Tobacco - BAT announces appointment of Dr Hutan Ashrafian as Chief Medical Officer

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News Release

18 September 2020

BAT announces appointment of Dr Hutan Ashrafian as Chief Medical Officer

  • Appointment supports BAT’s commitment to underpinning New Category products with world class science and reducing the health impact of its combustibles business.

BAT has appointed Dr Hutan Ashrafian as Chief Medical Officer, effective 14 September 2020.

In this role, Dr Ashrafian will be responsible for overall medical governance and ensuring robust medical processes and oversight are applied to all aspects of BAT’s clinical studies and post-market surveillance. 

BAT is committed to reducing the health impact of its business through offering a range of enjoyable and less risky products. Dr Ashrafian will play a key role in the ongoing development and expansion of BAT’s multi-category approach, which offers consumers a wide range of potentially lower risk alternatives to cigarettes including e-cigarettes, tobacco heated products and modern oral nicotine pouches.

Specifically, he will provide medical oversight to both BAT’s Human Research Committee and Product Stewardship Council. Dr Ashrafian will also play an important role in helping to define and generate evidence that supports and substantiates the tobacco harm reduction potential of BAT’s new categories from a disease perspective.

Dr David O’Reilly, Director, Scientific Research, commented: “We are delighted to have Hutan join BAT and become a member of the R&D leadership team. The Chief Medical Officer has always been a critical role at BAT as we strive to ensure all of the studies we undertake are of the highest standards from a quality and integrity perspective. His appointment will provide even greater confidence in our products for the science community and ultimately, consumers.  It also demonstrates our ongoing commitment to delivering A Better Tomorrow by ensuring the quality and efficacy of our New Category products.” 

Dr Ashrafian is a senior clinician-scientist and surgeon. His career has seen him lead large research and clinical teams, working at population and precision medicine levels, to achieve the highest quality real world evidence and translational healthcare. He has extensive experience in strategy and driving national and international health policy with cabinet-level politicians, civil servants, and heads of state.

He qualified in medicine at University College London where he was also awarded an honours degree in Immunology and Cell Pathology. His training in surgery also led to the award of the Arris & Gale lectureship at the Royal College of Surgeons of England. He a holds a PhD in Computational Physiology and Metabolic Surgery from Imperial College London and a health economics-focused MBA with Distinction from Warwick Business School.

Prior to his appointment at BAT, Dr Ashrafian was simultaneously Chief Scientific Adviser at the Institute of Global Health Innovation, Imperial College London; an Honorary Senior Clinical Fellow in Surgery at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust; Academic Lead for the Big Data Analytical Unit, Imperial College London; Deputy Director (Academic Lead) for the NHS Digital Academy; Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer at Oxford Medical Products Ltd.

Dr Ashrafian’s experience includes the application of biomedical and technological platforms to address a broad range of healthcare issues. These include the molecular biology of non-communicable diseases and cancer, digital health, behavioural interventions in new pathways of care and remote sensing technologies in the community and health centres, robotics and devices in surgery, computational modelling, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, big data analytics, population screening and diagnostics and bioinformatics. He has co-designed novel digital health tools and apps and has invented novel surgical approaches. His wide-ranging work has been published in a variety of leading journals including Nature, The Lancet and The New England Journal of Medicine.

Forward looking statements

This is a release by British American Tobacco p.l.c. References to ‘British American Tobacco’, ‘BAT’, ‘we’, ‘us’ and ‘our’ when denoting opinion refer to British American Tobacco p.l.c. (the Company, and together with its subsidiaries, the “Group”), and when denoting tobacco business activity refer to Group operating companies, collectively or individually as the case may be. This release contains certain forward-looking statements, including those made within the meaning of Section 21E of the United States Securities Exchange Act of 1934, regarding our intentions, beliefs or current expectations reflecting knowledge and information available at the time of preparation and concerning, amongst other things, prospects, growth, strategies, compliance with regulatory guidelines, our ability to submit further regulatory applications, the success of our regulatory applications and the economic and business circumstances occurring from time to time in the countries and markets in which the Group operates. BAT undertakes no obligation to update or revise these forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements.

These statements are often, but not always, made through the use of words or phrases such as “believe,” “anticipate,” “could,” “may,” “would,” “should,” “intend,” “plan,” “potential,” “predict,” “will,” “estimate,” “strategy” and similar expressions. It is believed that the expectations reflected in this release are reasonable but they may be affected by a wide range of variables that could cause actual results to differ materially from those currently anticipated, including uncertainties related to the impact of adverse domestic or international legislation and regulation and adverse decisions by domestic or international regulatory bodies.

Additional information concerning these and other factors can be found in the Company’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), including the Annual Report on Form 20-F filed on 26 March 2020 and Current Reports on Form 6-K, which may be obtained free of charge at the SEC’s website,, and the Company’s Annual Reports, which may be obtained free of charge from the British American Tobacco website


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