British American Tobacco (LON:BATS) has announced that insider Kingsley Wheaton will succeed Andrew Gray as chief marketing officer. The news marks another high-profile changed at the blue-chip tobacco maker after the company recently appointed its international chief operating officer Jack Bowles to the top job, with Nicandro Durante due to step down as chief executive officer next year.
BAT’s share price has fallen deep into the red in London this morning, having given up 0.89 percent to 3,387.00p as of 09:41 BST. The stock is underperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing 0.03 percent lower at 7,235.71 points. The group’s shares have lost more than 31 percent of their value over the past year, as compared with about a 4.3-percent loss in the Footsie.
BAT appoints new chief marketing officer
BAT announced in a statement in today’s session that its chief marketing officer Andrew Gray will step down from the management board at the end of December and will leave the group at the end of March next year. He will be replaced by Kingsley Wheaton, currently Regional Director, Americas and Sub Saharan Africa (AMSSA), who will start in his new role on January 1.
“I would like to thank Andrew for his outstanding leadership and service to BAT over his highly successful 32 year career,” BAT’s outgoing chief executive Nicandro Durante commented in the statement, adding that he was also pleased that Gray will be succeeded by Wheaton, whose “experience of running and growing our potentially reduced-risk products business will be particularly important for the future growth of the business under Jack Bowles, my successor as CEO”.
Analysts on blue-chip tobacco manufacturer
Liberum Capital reaffirmed BAT as a ‘buy’ today, without specifying a price target on the shares, while earlier this week, Goldman Sachs, which also sees the company as a ‘buy,’ set a valuation of 4,860p on the stock. According to MarketBeat, the blue-chip group currently has a consensus ‘buy’ rating and an average price target of 5,070.63p.