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Written by Puff Staff

Wednesday, 02 February 2011

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cignews2.1.20 We have some interesting news to report today concerning yet another move in CAO's hierarchy. Keep reading for more on that story, as well as info on Miami Cigar's noble donation efforts and the upcoming XIII Festival del Habano.

CAO's chairman steps down

CAO International has had some shuffling occur amongst its executives lately, and its most recent change came Monday when Gary Hyams, the company's chairman, announced that he would be stepping down from his position. Hyams served as chairman of CAO for four years, and his departure marks the fourth time that an executive has left the company since November of last year. There will be no transition time for the move, as it became effective immediately once it was announced.

Hyams began his career in the cigar industry with Loretta Cigars London Ltd., a distributor of high quality imported cigars in the United Kingdom. He would become co-owner of the company until it was sold to Henri Wintermans. At that point, Hyams was named managing director of Henri Wintermans U.K. Wintermans, a unit of Scandinavian Tobacco Group, acquired CAO in 2007. Hyams played a critical part in the acquisition, and was named chairman of CAO. During his time with the company, CAO released many lines that helped increase the brand's popularity, such as the America, La Traviata, and Lx2. Hyams also made his mark on the tobacco industry as chairman of the Imported Tobacco Products Advisory Council in the United Kingdom and as part of the Cigar Association of America's board of directors.

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Hyams' departure is just one in a long line of major changes for CAO. Scandinavian Tobacco Group merged with Swedish Match AB in April of last year, which effectively created one of the most powerful cigar companies in the world. The merged company, which kept the Scandinavian Tobacco Group label, decided to move CAO's headquarters last fall from its original Nashville, Tennessee, location to Richmond, Virginia. CAO experienced three major losses among its executives during the move, including president Tim Ozgener, senior vice president of marketing Mike Conder, and Jon Huber, who served as director of lifestyle marketing.

It should be interesting to see if what appears to be a domino effect within CAO's structure continues, and what effect it will have on the company's future lines and current crop of cigars.






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