By Jennifer Maloney
Philip Morris International Inc. said it was promoting one of its top executives to a newly created role overseeing the U.S. market, a signal the tobacco company plans an expanded role on Altria Group Inc.'s home turf.
Philip Morris's chief financial officer, Martin King, has been named chief executive officer of PMI America. He will be the point person for an arrangement in which Altria is selling Philip Morris's heated tobacco device, IQOS, in the U.S. Mr. King will also explore new technologies in the U.S. in which to invest through his company's venture arm.
The company hired an outsider, Emmanuel Babeau, to take over the finance role. Most recently the deputy CEO of Schneider Electric S.E. in charge of finance and legal affairs, Mr. Babeau will join Philip Morris as CFO on May 1. He was previously group CFO at the spirits company Pernod Ricard SA.
Philip Morris and Altria -- which were split apart in 2008 -- hold the same portfolio of cigarettes, including industry leader Marlboro. The products are sold by Altria in the U.S. and Philip Morris elsewhere. The two tobacco giants held talks last year on a potential merger but called off those discussions in September amid uncertainty around vaping regulations in the U.S.
Altria launched IQOS, a device that heats tobacco sticks but doesn't burn them, in the U.S. in September through a partnership with Philip Morris. The device is available in Atlanta and Richmond, Va., and is expected to go on sale in Charlotte, N.C. in April.
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Corrections & Amplifications
This was corrected at 11:21 a.m. ET because the original version incorrectly stated that Philip Morris International and Altria held talks this year in the fourth paragraph. The talks were held last year.