José Blanco’s time at Joya de Nicaragua will be limited to just two years. A day after announcing a series of new executive positions and nearly two years to the date when his arrival was first announced, Blanco is out. The two-year contract between the 63-year-old industry veteran and 45-year-old company has expired and will not be renewed.
Blanco’s tenure as senior vice-president of Joya de Nicaragua will best be known for his work on the Cuenca y Blanco line, now known as CyB, a cigar that was named Consensus Cigar of the Year in 2012. While the line has garnered high praise, sources have told halfwheel that sales have not lived up to expectations.
When contacted yesterday for comment by halfwheel, Blanco declined to comment on details. The company is expected to release an official statement soon.
Joya de Nicaragua declined to comment on the specifics of the departure, including regarding whether or not Blanco has a non-compete or any other employment restrictions. He recently returned to his native Dominican Republic, the place he is best known for due to his time at La Aurora. It was widely believed that his decision to leave La Aurora was driven by his desire for an eponymous cigar, something he achieved at Joya de Nicaragua.
Update: Joya de Nicaragua has issued the following press release:
Joya de Nicaragua announces the departure of José Blanco as Senior Vice President
August 28, 2013 (Estelí, Nicaragua) — JOYA DE NICARAGUA S.A announced today that José Blanco has stepped down from his role as Senior VP of the Company. The move comes at the end of a two-year contract that resulted in a fruitful collaboration between José and Dr. Alejandro Martínez Cuenca, from which the popular C Y B brand of cigars was born. Now José returns with his family to his roots in the Dominican Republic.
Dr. Alejandro Martínez Cuenca, Chairman and CEO of JOYA DE NICARAGUA expressed “We are very grateful for Jose’s company over the past two years. It’s been another big learning experience for all of us at JOYA, as much as we hope it was for him, and we thank him for his contributions and for helping spread the love for Nicaraguan cigars, especially during his tireless trips in the USA. We wish him and his family the best in their future endeavors”.
“Working for JOYA fulfilled my curiosity and love for Nicaraguan tobacco and it’s been a great and very interesting couple of years for me to work hands-on in a true and traditional local factory. I express my appreciation to JOYA DE NICARAGUA for these two years of collaboration and I wish them all the best. I would also like to thank Jonathan Drew and Marvin Samel and the entire Drew Estate team for all their great work and support during my stay and my US-trips” said José Blanco.