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 through 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 American Inc. announced plans in July 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.
Imperial acquired Lorillard’s headquarters and production operations in Greensboro, its plant in Danville, Va., and the vast majority of its workforce of 2,900.
Reynolds and Lorillard sold Imperial the cigarette brands of Kool, Salem and Winston from Reynolds and Maverick from Lorillard, as well as Lorillard’s U.S. top-selling 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 most recent Nielsen data, as of May 18, showed ITG with a 7.2% percent market share. Top-10 brand Winston alone gives the company a 2.1% market share and Kool and Maverick each give a 1.6% share.
Imperial Brands has said ITG’s market share was at 8.7% on Sept. 30, the latest public estimate.
On Nov. 1, ITG announced plans to close its Reidsville manufacturing plant by April 2020, affecting 117 manufacturing jobs.
Since the Lorillard sale, at least 375 ITG production jobs have been eliminated. The total Greensboro workforce has shrunk since the sale from 1,700 to 925, and the production workforce from 1,100 to 675.