August 12, 2010 - Kessler, 51, starts at Lorillard on Sept. 13, succeeding Martin Orlowsky, the Greensboro, North Carolina-based maker of Newport cigarettes said today in a statement. Kessler will also replace Orlowsky as chairman next year, as part of succession planning the company started nine months ago. (Lorillard - president and CEO Orlowsky to be replaced after December 31, 2010)
Murray Kessler takes charge as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) examines the health effects of menthol in cigarettes. Marketing restrictions or banning menthol would threaten Newport, which accounted for 92 percent of Lorillard’s more than $5 billion in sales last year. A non-menthol version of Newport will go on sale in November, the company said last week. (Lorillard to launch non-menthol variety of Newport in November 2010..)
Kessler worked at Altria Group Inc. during the first six months of 2009, following the largest U.S. tobacco company’s acquisition of UST Inc. Kessler had served as chairman and CEO of UST, which now operates as an Altria division, U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. The unit’s products include Skoal and Copenhagen snuff. (Murray Kessler leaving Altria at the end of June 2009..)
Kessler’s compensation at Lorillard includes base pay of $1.2 million a year and a signing bonus of $1 million, according to a securities filing. Mr. Kessler earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Villanova University and an M.B.A. in marketing and finance from New York University's Stern School. Lorillard Inc. CEO Martin L. Orlowsky made 36 percent less in 2009 than on 2008.. The Board of Directors has entered into a consulting agreement with Mr. Orlowsky to provide ongoing advice to the Company for a period of two years following his retirement.
Back in February 2010 Lorillard announced it will launch a new moist smokeless product in not-too-distant future.. Murray Kessler has stated that "Nine out of 10 smokers that try smokeless still reject the product." Lorillard discontinued their snus entry, Triumph in February 2010.
References: Lorillard Names Former UST Chief Kessler as CEO, Succeeding Orlowsky by Chris Burritt (email@example.com), Bloomberg.com, 8/12/2010; Lorillard, Inc. Elects Murray S. Kessler President and Chief Executive Officer Succeeding Martin L. Orlowsky, SOURCE Lorillard, Inc., PR Newswire, 8/12/2010.