Nicoventures, a Tobacco Company, or Not?

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This page is an extention of the Nicoventures page, to explain in detail how, through its directorships, Nicoventures was never a 'stand-alone' company - but integral to British American Tobacco (BAT) from the beginning. In August 2013, BAT merged Nicoventures with BAT Research & Development and CN Creative, which meant a complete reshuffle of directors. This page has all the details.

Nicoventures was set up by BAT in 2010, focussing exclusively on the development and commercialisation of regulatory-approved, non-tobacco nicotine products.[1]

Nicoventures, a Tobacco Company, or Not?

Nicoventures has been promoted as "a stand-alone company" within BAT, providing "a range of alternative products... without the real and serious health risks of smoking" - as such "a natural extension of BAT's approach to tobacco harm reduction".[2]

Despite being publicly presented as "a company managed separately from the BAT tobacco business", Nicoventures reported to Kingsley Wheaton, BAT's Director Corporate & Regulatory Affairs from the very beginning.[3]

The background of the Nicoventures staff shows that the company is, in fact, integral to BAT. Of the staff members listed on the Nicoventures website in October 2013, six previously held senior positions with BAT.

  • Adrian Marshall previously managed BAT’s Global Harm Reduction Programme and, before that, helped establish BAT’s Corporate Social Responsibility strategy.[4]
  • Roy Chambers spent 12 years with BAT, most recently as Finance Director for BAT UK & Ireland until 2011.[5] He qualified as a UK chartered accountant with Price Waterhouse Coopers.[4]
  • Henrik Brostrom was previously employed by BAT as Senior International Brand Manager and Head of Harm Reduction at BAT's EU Representation Office in Brussels, where "he specialised in engagement on smokeless tobacco with the EU." Before that, he was Head of Brands at Swedish Match , where he was responsible for developing and launching a series of smokeless tobacco products in Sweden and Japan.[4]
  • Tomas Hammargren worked for BAT where he was responsible for government and public affairs in relation to smokeless tobacco products. From 2004-2007 he was Vice President Global Corporate Affairs at Swedish Match. He also was Chairman of the European Smokeless Tobacco Council (ESTOC) from 2005 to March 2011.[4][6]
  • Richard Norton used to be BAT’s Marketing Director Next Generation Nicotine Products. He is a qualified pharmacist with many years of marketing experience in UK smoking control including working for the NHS.[4]
  • Paul Thompson held several management roles within BAT, including Operations Director in Bangladesh and Group Head of Quality. Most recently, Thompson was responsible for establishing BAT’s international supply chain capability for Africa and the Middle East.[4]

New Holding Company: Bringing Nicoventures Closer to BAT

In early 2013, BAT created a new role on the Management Board appointing Des Naughton as "Managing Director Next-Generation Products" encompassing non-tobacco companies Nicoventures and CN Creative, (the e-cigarette company acquired by BAT in December 2012). According to the company, the new role was “in line with the Group’s strategy of pursuing and developing a pipeline of next generation nicotine products to complement its core tobacco business.”[7]

In August 2013, BAT created a new holding company called Nicoventures Holdings Limited, bringing together Nicoventures, BAT’s Research and Development (R&D) department, and CN Creative. The merger coincided with the launch of BAT's e-cigarette Vype.

The merger saw BAT Director Des Naughton replacing Nicoventures general manager Adrian Marshall. Three other directors had their appointment terminated in August 2013: Roy Chambers and Steven Dale who had been with the company since the start, and Steve Burton who had been a director of both Nicoventures and CN Creative since December 2012.[8]

New management

Four directors now hold directorships of the three companies involved: Nicoventures Limited, CN Creative and Nicoventures Holding Limited. A fifth director is the only one not sharing the board of Creative. Apart from BAT director Naughton, none of the new directors had anything to do with Nicoventures or CN Creative before:

  • Peter Cleverly, a Business Affairs solicitor at BAT[9]
  • Douglas Lafferty, managed South East Europe for BAT for 12 years.[10]
  • Philippe Zell was new to BAT in December 2012 to become a director of Nicoventures Holdings when it was set up and of CN Creative when it was acquired by BAT. [11]
  • Kevin Bridgman Director of Nicoventures Ltd since February 2013 and appointed director Nicoventures Holding in August 2013, but not of CN Creative.[12]
  • For more on the discontent about the merger and confusion over BAT's strategy, go to Nicoventures.

Notes

  1. Clive Cookson, BAT aims to smoke out nicotine lovers who find cigarettes a drag. Financial Times 5 April 2011, accessed 30 March 2012
  2. New BAT company has harm-reduction focus, Tobacco Reporter, 5 April 2011, accessed 20 December 2011
  3. British American Tobacco, Management Board retirement and appointments, News release 21 November 2011, accessed 28 November 2011
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Nicoventures, Our Team, accessed October 2013
  5. Companies House, Roy Chambers, accessed October 2013
  6. Tomas Hammargren, LinkedIn, accessed October 2013
  7. BAT, Management Board, Corporate Governance, February 2013, accessed October 2013
  8. Companieshouse, Nicoventures Ltd, Webcheck, latest entry 2 December 2013, accessed January 2014
  9. McAdvo, BAT Legal Practitioners, no date, accessed October 2013
  10. LinkedIn, Douglas Lafferty, accessed October 2013
  11. CN Creative, Philippe Zell, no date, accessed October 2013
  12. Companieshouse, Nicoventures Holding Ltd, Webcheck, latest entry 21 January 2014, accessed January 2014