British American Tobacco has named company man Jack Bowles as the successor to outgoing chief executive Nicandro Durante.
Last week Durante announced his intention to step down as boss of the tobacco giant after 37 years in charge.
Bowles, currently chief operation officer of BAT's international business, will take over in March but become chief executive designate as early as November.
Shares in the company have fallen more than 20 per cent since the beginning of the year and the firm was criticised by investors over its lack of communication regarding plans to shift focus to electronic cigarettes.
BAT chairman Richard Burrows said: “Throughout his career at BAT, Jack has demonstrated excellent strategic leadership, growing businesses, driving productivity improvements and building strong management teams.
“In his most recent roles, as director for the Asia-Pacific region and COO, he has played a key role in developing our potentially reduced-risk products business.”
Bowles said: “It is an exciting time for BAT with many changes in our industry but also great opportunities.
“With our depth of talent, our iconic brands and our range and pipeline of potentially reduced risk products, I am confident that we will take full advantage of these opportunities as we accelerate the transformation of BAT into a stronger multi category tobacco and nicotine products company.”
Shares fell a further 1.6 per cent in early trading after the announcement of Bowles' appointment.