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R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. may be in for a sea change now that Nabisco Holdings Corp. President H. John Greeniaus takes over direct corporate oversight of RJR Nabisco Holdings Corp.'s tobacco unit.

Those who know the 50-year-old Mr. Greeniaus (pronounced GREN-us) expect his advertising background at Nabisco will mean some major changes for RJR, a company that has done recent advertising for its biggest brand, Winston, mostly on a project basis and has seen its two biggest brands, Winston and Camel, stalling.

"He is pretty intense. He tends to get people's attention," said Tim Ramey, an analyst with C.J. Lawrence, New York.

RJR had already begun looking for new agencies as it tried to deal with the effects of the recent growth of Philip Morris Cos.' brands, notably Marlboro. Analysts say RJR is going to have to either reposition Winston to deal with the brand's aging image or increase and reinvigorate advertising for Camel to counter Winston losses, with the second a more likely prospect.

RJR sees Camel as appealing to younger consumers than Winston and as having the potential to be a global brand with the camel an American icon that translates as strongly as a Jeep or a cowboy in many countries. RJR would be unlikely to dump Joe Camel, but it could be up to Mr. Greeniaus to decide how he next appears.

FCB/Leber Katz Partners, a former RJR tobacco agency that has worked extensively with Mr. Greeniaus on the Nabisco foods accounts, is likely to be in line for additional business. Mezzina/Brown currently handles the Joe Camel campaign.

Mr. Greeniaus replaces James Johnston in supervising the U.S. tobacco operation; Mr. Johnston remains RJR chairman and supervises international divisions.

Those who know Mr. Greeniaus say his attention to advertising is intense.

"He gets as sweaty palmed at a great commercial as anyone I have seen on the client or agency side," said Laurel Cutler, a consultant for True North Communications (whose agencies include Leber Katz).

Mr. Greeniaus' prowess in advertising will be a complement to RJR President Andrew J. Schindler, whose greatest expertise is in production and operations. With Mr. Johnston out of running the U.S. tobacco business, Mr. Schindler adds the title of CEO of the tobacco company.


H. John Greeniaus

BIRTH DATE: Feb. 12, 1945

EDUCATION: B.A. in economics from McGill University, 1966.

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Senior VP-group executive, confectionary group, Nabisco Brands, 1982; CEO, Nabisco Brands, U.K., 1984; president, biscuit division, Nabisco USA, 1986-87; president-International, Nabisco Brands, 1986-87; president-CEO, Nabisco Brands (and later Nabisco Holdings Corp.), 1987; vice chairman, RJR Nabisco Holdings Corp., 1995.

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