World News

Philip Morris says CFO King steps down to head new America division

(Reuters) – Tobacco giant Philip Morris International Inc <PM.N> said on Monday Martin King will step down as chief financial officer to head the newly created America division, which has a licensing deal with Altria Group to sell heated-tobacco device IQOS.

Philip Morris said Emmanuel Babeau, Chief Financial Officer and Deputy Chief Executive Officer at France’s Schneider Electric <SCHN.PA>, will take King’s role as finance chief in May.

IQOS, a “reduced risk” alternative to traditional cigarettes, was developed by Philip Morris and is sold in the United States through a partnership with U.S. Marlboro maker Altria Group Inc <MO.N>.

The device is central to Philip Morris’ efforts to overhaul its image through initiatives like its “unsmoke” campaign, which promotes “smoke-free” alternatives like IQOS as a way to accelerate the shift away from cigarettes.

However, the company’s marketing strategy for the device has drawn ire overseas for mimicking tobacco companies in the mid-20th century, when cigarettes were associated with Hollywood and high society.

(Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath)