By Colin Kellaher
Altria Group Inc. on Tuesday said it named Kathryn McQuade board chair, effective upon the conclusion of its annual shareholder meeting on May 20.
The New York tobacco giant said Ms. McQuade, a director since 2012, will be the first woman to serve as chair of its board.
Altria last year split the roles of chairman and chief executive after Howard Willard stepped down from the posts following two rocky years on the job that resulted in big losses on the Marlboro maker's investment in Juul Labs Inc.
Thomas Farrell, an Altria board member since 2008 who stepped in as chairman after Mr. Willard's departure, died in April after a battle with cancer.
Altria said Ms. McQuade, who will oversee a board on which more than 72% of its members are women or racially or ethnically diverse, retired as executive vice president and chief financial officer of Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. in November 2012.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires