Altria appoints Billy Gifford as CEO alongside Thomas Farrell as Independent Chairman of the Board

– USA, VA –  Altria Group, Inc. (NYSE: MO) today announced the retirement of Howard Willard as Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of Altria, effective April 14, 2020. The company also announced the Board’s decision to separate the roles of Chairman and CEO.

The Board of Directors elected Billy Gifford to serve as CEO alongside Thomas Farrell, formerly the independent Presiding Director, as independent Chairman of the Board.

“Our election of Billy as the next CEO reflects the Board’s belief that his collaborative leadership style, strategic mindset and deep financial and industry expertise are right to lead Altria towards that future.” Said Thomas Farrell, Independent Board Chairman.

He added: “The Board thanks Howard for his nearly 30 years of distinguished service to Altria and for helping to set the course for Altria’s 10-year vision to responsibly lead the transition of adult smokers to a non-combustible future,” 

About Billy Gifford

Mr. Gifford has served in numerous senior leadership roles during his more than 25-year career at Altria, including most recently Vice Chairman and CFO where he was responsible for financial functions as well as its core tobacco businesses, sales and distribution business, and Consumer & Marketplace Insights team. Previously he served as SVP, Strategy and Business Development and President and CEO of Philip Morris USA.

“We believe we’re well-positioned to make significant progress against our vision,” said Mr. Gifford. “I’m excited to work with our strong leadership team, fantastic employees and key stakeholders to lead Altria forward in its pursuit of the 10-year vision.”

Mr. Gifford currently serves as a director at Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV as one of Altria’s designees.

About Altria

Altria’s wholly-owned subsidiaries include Philip Morris USA Inc., U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company LLC, John Middleton Co., Sherman Group Holdings, LLC and its subsidiaries, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates Ltd. and Philip Morris Capital Corporation. Altria owns an 80% interest in Helix Innovations LLC. Altria holds equity investments in Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV, JUUL Labs, Inc. and Cronos Group Inc.

The brand portfolios of Altria’s tobacco operating companies include Marlboro, Black & Mild, Copenhagen, Skoal and on! Ste. Michelle produces and markets premium wines sold under various labels, including Chateau Ste. Michelle, 14 Hands and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, and it imports and markets Antinori, Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte and Villa Maria Estate products in the United States. Trademarks and service marks related to Altria referenced in this release are the property of Altria or its subsidiaries or are used with permission.

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