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Tobacco company executives dismissed any immediate impact of a $145 billion punitive damages verdict by a U.S. District Court jury in Florida involving a class-action suit against the five major tobacco companies. Executives said the verdict is likely to be overturned and wouldn't be paid for years because thousands of individual claims now each have to be decided if the verdict is to stand.

Frank Van der Minne to president-CEO of Heineken USA from director of central and eastern Europe for the Amsterdam-based brewer. He succeeds Michael Foley, now group chief executive at Aer Lingus.

Copyright July 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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