PHILIP MORRIS USA PRESIDENT MORGAN RETIRES: LONGTIME PM EXEC STRENGTHENED CIG BRANDS WITH MARKETING EFFORTS

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An era is ending at Philip Morris USA with the retirement of President-CEO James Morgan.

Mr. Morgan, a longtime marketing executive, will be remembered for the indelible stamp he put on the tobacco company's branding. For the flagship Marlboro brand alone, Mr. Morgan helped steward such initiatives as the introduction of the Marlboro Adventure Team promotion and the Marlboro Medium line extension, and the price-cutting plan that came to be known as "Marlboro Friday."

He is being succeeded by Michael Szymanczyk, 48, currently chief operating officer.

"While [Mr. Morgan] is well-known for his inspirational leadership," said Geoffrey Bible, chairman-CEO of parent Philip Morris Cos., "it is his exceptional strategic marketing skills that set him apart from all the rest."

END OF A LEGACY

Industry observers also believe the departure of Mr. Morgan, 55, marks the end of a legacy of strong marketing and branding programs at the nation's No. 1 tobacco company as it faces severe restrictions on U.S. marketing.

Although the White House last week cast a shadow over the industry agreement with state attorneys general, it's expected that marketing ultimately will be heavily curtailed, leaving operations and retail sales strategies a growing priority at Philip Morris. Mr. Szymanczyk formerly headed sales for the company.

Such a direction would stand in stark contrast with the corporate mind-set Mr. Morgan espoused to Advertising Age after the Marlboro price cut in 1993: "There isn't anybody here who doesn't wish and want cigarette marketing to return to brand marketing where advertising is more important than retail. . . . The core instinct at Philip Morris is to return the battleground to branding."

SPENT MOST OF CAREER AT PM

With the exception of a marketing stint at Atari Corp. and a managing directorship at ad agency Margeotes Fertitta & Weiss, New York, Mr. Morgan spent most of his career at Philip Morris, starting as an assistant to the ad production manager in 1963. By 1978, he had risen to exec VP-marketing from 1978. In 1983, he left to join Atari.

Mr. Morgan rejoined Philip Morris as staff VP-marketing planning for the parent. By 1990, Mr. Morgan was named corporate VP-marketing planning then senior VP-

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