BAT shuffles top staff as chief exec Paul Adams retires

Marion Dakers
BRITISH American Tobacco said its chief executive Paul Adams will retire next February, to be replaced by chief operating officer Nicandro Durante.

The world’s second biggest cigarette-maker said yesterday 53-year-old Durante, who has worked for the company for 29 years, will take over as chief executive designate in September.

A number of other staff shuffles follow Adams’ retirement. Long-serving BAT employee John Daly will take over as chief operating officer, David Fell moves to Asia-Pacific director, and current head of marketing in Africa, Des Naughton, steps in to replace Fell as director of Eastern Europe.

BAT also said that Kieran Poynter, former chairman and senior partner at PwC, would become a non-executive director from July 2010.

Outgoing chief executive Paul Adams said: “I feel privileged to have led such a strong management team but this is the right time to make a change, both for me and for the company. I’m very pleased that Nicandro has been chosen as chief executive and I hope that he finds the role as fulfilling as I have.”

During Adams’s seven years as chief executive, BAT bought more than $5bn (£3.3bn) worth of tobacco assets in both European and emerging markets.

Durante’s promotion follows the controversial appointment of beleagured Bank of Ireland governor Richard Burrows to the role of group chairman last summer.

BAT shares dipped slightly yesterday, closing 0.9 per cent down at £21.33.


NICANDRO Durant, 53, has been a loyal employee at British American Tobacco (BAT) since 1981.

He is Brazilian Italian, and holds a bachelor’s degree in finance, economics and business administration from Pontificia Universidade Catolica in South America.

He has spent his career in finance, working for various companies in Brazil before moving to BAT subsidiary Souza Cruz.

He rose through the ranks and was seconded to the UK head office as marketing finance controller in 1996. He returned to Brazil in 2002 to become director of Souza Cruz, before taking up the post of regional director for Africa and the Middle East in March 2006.

He was appointed as chief operating officer in January 2008, and became director of Reynolds American in December that year.

He is paid £1.9m a year in his current position.

He said yesterday: “It is an honour to succeed Paul and I am confident that our proven strategy, focused on growth, productivity, responsibility and developing a winning organisation, will continue to serve shareholders very well.”

Emerging markets are key

MORE of the same. That’s what BAT shareholders want from the new chief of the world’s second largest tobacco company. With the outlook for cigarette makers notoriously uncertain, it is not an easy ask.

As the global assault on smokers and smoking gathers pace, the tobacco industry has had to adapt fast and lobby hard. On the regulatory front, there is a ray of light. Plans to introduce non-branded packaging in Australia could hit the skids now Premier Kevin Rudd has been ousted, while Britain’s Tories are reviewing plans to ban the display of tobacco products in shops.

Still, the number of smokers is unlikely to grow in the West, especially as unemployment climbs higher and states get tougher. That’s why Durante will want to continue expanding in emerging markets. BAT’s £303m acquisition of Indonesia’s biggest maker of clove cigarettes, Bentoel, provides a perfect blue-print. BAT is already well diversified, with emerging markets accounting for 75 per cent of volumes, 66 per cent of revenues and 60 per cent of profits. As long as the numbers go up, Durante will do fine.