British American Tobacco's (BAT) CMO Andrew Gray (pictured left) is stepping down from the management board at the end of December this year and leaving the group on 31 March 2019.
Before assuming his current role, Gray was regional director, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa. Prior to that, he was regional director Africa and Middle East. Gray also helmed the roles of MD of BAT Malaysia and president of Souza Cruz, a subsidiary of British American Tobacco.
Replacing him is Kingsley Wheaton (pictured right), currently regional director, Americas and Sub Saharan Africa, effective 1 January 2019. Wheaton has been with BAT for 22 years and a member of the management board for nearly seven years. Having held several senior roles in marketing and general management, Wheaton joined the management board as director, corporate and regulatory affairs in 2012. In 2015, he was appointed as managing director, next generation products before taking on his current role in November 2017. An announcement regarding Wheaton’s successor will be made in due course.
CEO Nicandro Durante said, “I would like to thank Gray for his outstanding leadership and service to BAT over his highly successful 32 year career. We will miss his calm demeanour, his strategic thinking and his considerable experience of our business. The evolution of our marketing strategy under his leadership will benefit the group for many years to come. On behalf of the entire organisation I would like to wish him all the very best for the future,"
He added that Wheaton brings an "enormous amount" of marketing knowledge and passion to the role. "At this transformative time for our company, his experience of running and growing our potentially reduced-risk products business will be particularly important for the future growth of the business under Jack Bowles, my successor as CEO," Durante added.
Meanwhile, Bowles said, “Having worked with Wheaton for a long time there is no doubt that he is an excellent fit for this role. His breadth of experience right across our business, combined with his proven leadership, positions him extremely well to continue driving our transforming tobacco strategy.”