ITG Brands has named its third chief executive since its formation in July 2015, with the official coming this time from parent company Imperial Brands Plc.

Oliver Kutz has taken over as chief executive and president of the Greensboro tobacco manufacturer.

Kutz replaces Dan Carr, who had served in those posts for 16 months. The company said Carr stepped down “to pursue other interests.”

Kutz is a 20-year veteran with Imperial, most recently serving as general manager for its Russia and Americas, Africa, Asia & Australia (AAAA) divisions.

“Oliver Kutz brings a wealth of international experience in tobacco and next-generation products to ITG Brands,” said Dominic Brisby, Imperial’s director for the AAAA division.

ITG began its corporate existence with longtime industry executive David Taylor as chief executive. Taylor previously served as Lorillard Inc.’s chief financial officer from 2008 until his promotion.

Taylor was responsible for leading ITG in the launch of its initial merchandising and marketing plans, re-branding campaigns and reorganization. Taylor retired on Jan. 31, 2018, being replaced by Carr.

When Reynolds announced plans in 2014 to spend $29.25 billion to buy rival Lorillard, essentially to acquire top-selling menthol brand Newport, a key part of the deal was Imperial agreeing to pay $7.1 billion for the rest of Lorillard.

Reynolds and Lorillard sold Imperial the cigarette brands of Kool, Salem and Winston from Reynolds and Maverick from Lorillard, as well as Lorillard’s blu eCigs electronic cigarette brand.

ITG’s portfolio also includes USA Gold traditional cigarettes and Dutch Masters, Backwoods and Phillies cigars.

The divestiture goal was bolstering Imperial enough to convince the Federal Trade Commission that it would be a competitive No. 3 U.S. manufacturer, raising it from a 3% market share to at least 10.3%.

The latest Nielsen convenience store data has ITG at 7.3% market share.

Since the Lorillard sale, at least 375 ITG jobs have been eliminated.

ITG spokesman Mark Smith said Tuesday that the manufacturer currently has about 960 employees in greater Greensboro area: 520 production, hourly and salaried employees; 80 quality and compliance, hourly and salaried employees; 110 employees in nearby Reidsville; and 250 salaried headquarters employees.

ITG also has 880 employees in field sales nationwide.

Howevee, ITG said Nov. 1 that it planned to close the Reidsville manufacturing plant by April 2020.

The 126-year-old plant will maintain production of former Commonwealth Brands cigarette products until the shift is completed to the former Lorillard Inc. plant in Greensboro.

By moving operations to Greensboro, ITG said it would lower manufacturing and regulatory costs.

Smith said Nov. 1 that “it is to be determined whether Reidsville production employees will be offered jobs in Greensboro.

“But at this point, we don’t expect there will be new jobs added to Greensboro,” Smith said. “Additional volume is expected to be handled by existing workers at the Greensboro facility.”

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rcraver@wsjournal.com 336-727-7376 @rcraverWSJ

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