Scandinavian Tobacco Group CEO Departing

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In the midst of a massive change that involves the company going public in the near future, Scandinavian Tobacco Group, parent company of General Cigar Company, is facing yet another challenge: finding a new chief executive officer.

News of Anders Colding Friis’ pending departure from the tobacco giant came via a press release issued by the company he will be joining in March 2015, Denmark-based jewelry company Pandora A/S. Friis succeeds Allan Leighton, who the Board of Directors will recommend as new Co-Deputy Chairman of the Board.

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From the press release, Anders Colding Friis, 51, is a Danish citizen and holds a M.Sc. (Business Administration) from Copenhagen Business School and since 2006 has been the Group CEO of Scandinavian Tobacco Group, the world’s largest manufacturer of cigars and pipe tobacco. Anders Colding Friis is also Chairman of Monberg & Thorsen, Deputy Chairman of IC Companys, board member at Topdanmark and Confederation of Danish Industry.

“Pandora is establishing itself as a great brand, with a huge amount of opportunity both in core and emerging markets,” Friis said via a press release. “I am really looking forward to work with all the PANDORA teams worldwide to fulfill this opportunity, by continuing to focus on products, partners and customers.”

What this means for the pending initial public offering of STG remains to be seen, as not having a CEO in place could delay the process which has been reported to be scheduled for Q1 2015 on the Nasdaq OMX Copenhagen exchange.

News of the change comes just weeks ahead of the Oct. 1, 2014 expiration of the standstill agreement that was part of the agreement between STG and its minority partner, Swedish Match,  a restriction believed to prevent either party from modifying its position in the company. The agreement had been publicly acknowledged by Swedish Match earlier this year, with the company publicly disclosing that it had retained an investment bank to “evaluate the options in terms of future ownership structure for the company,” meaning it had begun to seriously consider selling its stake.

ST Group has global ownership of the CAO, Macanudo, Foundry and Don Tomas brands, along with the rights to Cohiba, Partagas, La Gloria Cubana, Hoyo de Monterrey, Punch, Bolivar and Sancho Panza trademarks in the U.S. On the premium side, it operates the General Cigar Dominicana factory in the Dominican Republic, STG Estelí in Nicaragua and STG Danlí in Honduras. Additionally, it owns Cigars International and its distribution company Meier & Dutch, which owns hundreds of trademarks including Man O’War, 5 Vegas and the former XIKAR cigar brands including HC and Defiance.

General Cigar Co. also acquired the Toraño Family Cigar brands on Sept. 11, 2014, furthering adding to  its extensive portfolio.

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Patrick Lagreid
About the author

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 MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.

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