New Philip Morris International CEO pleased over partnership with Lucio Tan
MANILA, Philippines — “This is a case of one plus one is equal to more than two,” Jacek Olczak, the new chief executive officer of Philip Morris International (PMI), said to describe his company’s partnership with Lucio Tan’s Fortune Tobacco Corp. (FTC).
The partnership is a 50-50 business combination between PMI and FTC through PMFTC Inc., the leading tobacco company in the Philippines.
Olczak made that statement in a global online conference on May 5, shortly after assuming his post as CEO of PMI.
Olczak’s appointment — which was announced following the PMI’s annual shareholders’ meeting on May 5 — came as the company was in the middle of its ambitious vision to deliver a smoke-free future by eliminating combustible cigarettes at the soonest possible time.
He acknowledged how this smoke-free vision started in the Philippines as the company brought IQOS, its non-combustible alternative product for smokers.
“We started slowly but surely getting focused on bringing IQOS to the Philippines,” he said.
PMFTC started marketing IQOS in Metro Manila last year to users 21 years old and above. On June 5, 2020, the IQOS.com website was launched offering IQOS, as well as the HEETS tobacco sticks and device accessories.
To date, there are 15 IQOS stores in Metro Manila.
In accepting the appointment, Olczak committed to accelerating PMI’s smoke-free transformation, which was announced in 2016.
The company is focused on developing, scientifically substantiating, and responsibly commercializing smoke-free products that are less harmful than smoking, with the aim of replacing cigarettes as soon as possible.
“I am humbled and excited to lead PMI as we accelerate our transformation into a smoke-free company,” Olczak said.
“PMI is an industry leader in scientific innovation, and our ambition is that more than half of our net revenues will come from smoke-free products in 2025. Our evolving portfolio will drive our long-term future,” he added. “We will lean into our scientific research and expertise, using our collective skills and imagination to innovate beyond our existing portfolio and explore new areas of business development.”
The 56-year-old Olczak, who holds a master’s degree in economics from the University of Lodz in Poland, began his career with PMI in 1993.
He started in finance and general management positions across Europe, among them, managing director of PMI’s markets in Poland and Germany and president of the European Union Region.
In 2012, he was appointed chief financial officer, a position he held until 2018 when he became PMI’s chief operating officer.
He has been a vital driver of PMI’s smoke-free transformation, which moved into its commercialization phase with the launch of IQOS in Nagoya, Japan, in 2014.
Under his oversight as COO, PMI increased the portion of its net revenues derived from smoke-free products to 28 percent in the first quarter of 2021.
Further, under his leadership as COO, the company grew the geographical coverage of PMI’s smoke-free products from zero to 66 markets in key cities or nationwide as of March 31, 2021.
He also led PMI’s commercial transformation, successfully developing it from a primarily business-to-business company to an increasingly business-to-consumer company.
Olczak succeeded Andre Calantzopoulos, who served as PMI’s CEO from 2013 until May 5, 2021, and was appointed executive chairman of the board.