Philip Morris International is committed to “a future that does not include cigarettes” by developing “scientifically substantiated” smoke-free products, says CEO André Calantzopoulos.
In an January open letter to the “global leader community” published in the Diplomatic Courier, Calantzopoulos wrote that the New York City-based company which currently manufacturers cigarettes and other tobacco products sold in more than 180 countries, has invested more than $4.5 billion in research, development and production “to provide adult smokers with better options.”
“Behind this investment, and every advancement at PMI, is robust science,” he wrote. “We are harnessing recent breakthroughs in technology to develop smoke-free alternatives to cigarettes that are much less harmful than continued smoking.”
In his letter, Calantzopoulos called upon politicians, policy makers and nonprofit public health groups to consider the scientific assessment of and evidence for alternative products—“to be open to new concepts, conversation and change.”
“By working together, through innovative products that meet the different needs of adult smokers, along with forward-thinking regulators and public health officials, we can speed up the progress to a smoke-free future,” he wrote. “A future that will create a better world for the more than one billion adult smokers—and the people who care about them.”
Originally from Greece, Calantzopoulos holds a degree in electrical engineering from Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne and an MBA from INSEAD in France. After joining PMI in 1985, he worked extensively across Central Europe, including as managing director of PM Poland and president of the Eastern European Region. Calantzopoulos was PMI’s president and CEO between 2002 and the March 2008 spin-off from Altria Group, and then served as chief operating officer of PMI after the spin-off. In May 2013 Calantzopoulos was named CEO and was elected to the board of directors.
Soulati Media states that PMI has doubled its earnings in each decade since Calantzopoulos started out as an analyst, according to Money Inc.
“Calantzopoulos can claim a fair amount of the credit for said accomplishment, particularly seeing as how he has been an important figure in the corporation’s leadership for a long, long time,” Money Inc. wrote.
The CEO also believes in the need for an “ecosystem” surrounding e-cigarettes, according to Money Inc.
“By this, he meant accessories as well as other e-cigarette products, which would presumably be very important for a corporation such as Philip Morris in a smokeless world because of how e-cigarettes can be used again and again,” Money Inc. wrote.
He’s No. 36 on Chief Executive and RHR International’s CEO1000 Tracker, a ranking of the top 1,000 public/private companies
Headquarters: New York City
Education:A degree in electrical engineering from Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne and an MBA from INSEAD in France
First joined company: 1985
Prior to joining PMI: Automotive industry
Named CEO: 2013