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Dinyar Devitre Returns to Company; Other Management Changes Made

By Published on .

CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- In revealing its new management team that will serve under soon-to-be president and chief executive Louis Camilleri, Philip Morris Cos. surprised industry analysts with its pick for his successor.

Mr. Camilleri, currently the company's chief financial officer, is set to replace Geoffrey Bible, who will retire in August, at the annual shareholder meeting April 25. But in a surprise to some industry analysts, the company brought in an outsider -- although a Philip Morris veteran -- to replace Mr. Camilleri.

Dinyar Devitre will become senior vice president and chief finacial officer, rejoining the company he left in 1997 to assume a senior executive position with Citigroup in Europe. Mr. Devitre held various posts at Philip Morris from 1970 through 1997, including senior roles at the company's international tobacco unit.

"They decided to go

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outside the company, but they really just called somebody home," said Rob Campagnino, a tobacco analyst at Prudential Securities.

Unexpected appointment
Most analysts believed the company's vice president of finance and treasurer, Nancy DeLisi, most likely was Mr. Camilleri's successor, with Kraft Foods' co-CEO, Roger Deromedi, being another possible choice.

Bringing back Mr. Devitre "reflects that Louis wanted someone with operational experience as the CFO. He used himself as the model for the position, which I think is a good thing to do," Mr. Campagnino said. "Dinyar actually does bring that, whereas Nancy [DeLisi] has pure treasurer experience."

But Ms. DeLisi's track record with the company was not ignored. She will assume the new position of senior vice president of mergers and acquisitions, reflecting her role in the corporation's acquisition of Nabisco and its initial public offering of Kraft last year.

"I think that Louis realized her ability and contribution to the Kraft IPO and gave her a sizable promotion," Mr. Campagnino said. And with acquisitions -- particularly for the food operation abroad -- being a paramount concern for the company, her new role "is going to be the growth engine for Philip Morris in the next couple of years," he added.

Mr. Deromedi will remain in his post, as will Kraft co-CEO Betsy Holden and Miller Brewing Co.'s president-CEO, John Bowlin.

Other promotions
Less surprising was the promotion of Philip Morris USA's President-CEO Michael Szymanczyk to the new position of chairman of the domestic tobacco unit. Many industry observers anticipated Mr. Szymanczyk to get an expanded role after he was passed over for the chief executive position.

Mr. Szymanczyk will focus on long-term strategies for the company's tobacco business, including the introduction and marketing of reduced-risk cigarettes.

John Nelson, previously president-CEO of tobacco unit Philip Morris International, will assume the post of president-CEO at Philip Morris USA and relocate to New York. Andre Calantzopoulos, previously president of Philip Morris International's Eastern European Region, will become president-CEO of the international tobacco division.

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