The Villiger Stokkebye International Corporation has announced the immediate departure of company president Erik Stokkebye to pursue other interests.

In a letter dated February 27, 2012 which was posted on, Peter Witzke, Villiger Stokkebye’s Chairman of the Board, made the announcement and said, “we would like to thank Erik for his contribution to the business over the past six years and wish him all the best in his future progress.” Stokkebye’s resignation comes shortly after the announcement that Lane Limited would be taking over U.S. distribution of Stokkebye tobaccos effective April 1.

Stokkebye started as president of Peter Stokkebye International in 2000, when it was owned by Orlik Tobacco of Denmark. A 2005 merger with Villiger brought about the name change and added both handmade and machine-made cigars to the company’s existing portfolio of pipe and roll-your-own tobacco.

No information about Erik Stokkebye’s future plans were immediately available.

Roy MacLaren (image courtesy of Villiger Stokkebye)

In a separate letter sent the same day, Witzke announced that Roy MacLaren had been named the new President of Villiger Stokkebye International Corp., effective immediately.

A tobacco industry veteran for 30 years, MacLaren spent eight years as a vice president at Gurkha Cigars/Beach Cigar Group. Witzke said that MacLaren is “well equipped to lead us into a successful future.”

Villiger-Stokkebye manufactures the Villiger 1888, Villiger and La Libertad lines of cigars, as well as La Flor de Ynclan, La Vencedora and Villa Dominicana, along with a range of pipe, cigarette and smokeless tobacco products. Their US headquarters are located in Charlotte, NC, while the company’s premium handmade cigars are made at the ABAM Cigars S.A. factory in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The U.S. branch of the company is currently in a transition to a new name, Villiger North America.

Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.