Altria CEO retires after recovering from COVID-19

Altria CEO retires after recovering from COVID-19
Altria (Source: NBC12)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Altria Group, Inc. announced that its chairman and CEO is retiring after 28 years with the business.

Howard Willard, who was recovering from COVID-19, decided to step down from the position, effective April 14.

Following his retirement, Altria’s Board of Directors elected Billy Gifford as Altria’s new CEO, who most recently served as Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer.

“We believe we’re well positioned to make significant progress against our vision,” said Gifford in a release. “I’m excited to work with our strong leadership team, fantastic employees and key stakeholders to lead Altria forward in its pursuit of the 10-year vision.”

The board also decided to separate the roles of chairman and CEO, electing Thomas Farrell, formerly the board’s independent presiding director, as independent chairman of the board. This was effective April 16.

“The Board thanks Howard for his nearly 30 years of distinguished service to Altria and for helping to set the course for Altria’s 10-year vision to responsibly lead the transition of adult smokers to a non-combustible future,” said Farrell in a release. “Our election of Billy as the next CEO reflects the Board’s belief that his collaborative leadership style, strategic mindset and deep financial and industry expertise are right to lead Altria towards that future.”

Copyright 2020 WWBT. All rights reserved.