Altria CEO spends his last shareholder meeting

Outgoing Altria Group Inc CEO Michael E. Szymanczyk finished his last shareholders meeting on Thursday, as well as his first - fielding attacks the largest tobacco companies in the country.

The owner of top selling cigarette manufacturer Marlboro, Philip Morris USA, held its annual meeting on Thursday at the headquarters of the city of Richmond. He said the last day of Szymanczyk, who served as chairman and CEO since March 2008 and in the same capacity for Philip Morris USA from August 2002 to July 2008 the company allotted Philip Morris International, Inc

“It was a great honor to lead the restructuring of Altria”, said Szymanczyk, who was suffocated during his closing remarks of his 23-year career. “Altria and its companies have been significant changes since I first joined the company. Change is not something new for our company. They have been successful for more than a century, because they have demonstrated the ability to adapt to dynamic industries, and the world around them”.

Martin J. Barrington Szymanczyk replaced as CEO and chairman, and David R. Beran will serve as president and chief operating officer.

In his speech to shareholders, Szymanczyk Altria advertised in the premium brands like Marlboro and said the company is well positioned for further growth in a changing industry. In addition to Philip Morris USA, Altria owns U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company, maker of brands such as Copenhagen and Skoal, and black and mild cigar maker John Middleton Company The company also owns a wine business and holds voting shares in brewer SABMiller.

In 2011, the company saw its net profit fall by 13 percent to $ 3.39 billion for the rental of legal and restructuring costs. Its net revenue excluding excise taxes fell almost 2 percent to $ 16.62 billion. Deliveries fell 4 percent to 135.1 billion cigarettes, mainly to reduce their premium brands.

However, its 2012 first-quarter profit rose nearly 4 percent, as price increases and spending cuts helped offset the decline in cigarettes. Deliveries fell 2.6 percent to 31.1 billion cigarettes, but the Marlboro brand of cigarettes and market share over the period from 42.3 percent of the U.S. retail market.

“For nearly 60 years, Marlboro was the cigarette smoke that the men to taste, and adult smokers were asked,” Well, where taste. Come to Marlboro Country,'” Szymanczyk said, adding that the company is evolving the brand to try to keep it growing and steal smokers from its competitors.

Like other tobacco companies, Altria is focusing on cigarette alternatives - such as cigars, snuff and chewing tobacco - for future sales growth because reduction in smoking will continue.

Altria also had to reduce expenses as tax increases, smoking bans, health and social stigma make the cigarette business tougher. After completing the $ 1.5 billion in long-term conservation programs in the past year, the company has released a plan to cut $ 400 million in “cigarette-related infrastructure costs” to the end of 2013 in anticipation of the expected decrease in volumes of cigarettes.

Szymanczyk said cost-cutting “is still a priority.”

Over the years, the question-answer sessions, tobacco company annual meetings are usually equipped with various groups to attack them for selling products that cause about 443,000 deaths per year in the final meeting of shareholders of U.S. Szymanczyk was no exception.

“With your retirement, I am sure that you look at the inheritance. You, of course, companies have a passion for success. I’m not sure to satisfy your customers and their preferences, if they have a death wish,” Anne Morrow Donley One of the founders of Virginia brand of cigarettes in public said Szymanczyk. “At some point in the future, you and the company could actually be charged with crimes against humanity - I am looking forward to it.”

63-year-old Szymanczyk not responds to those comments. He also refused repeated requests for an interview with the Associated Press.

Shareholders Thursday elected 11 directors to the board of the company and shareholders rejected a proposal that the company disclose its lobbying policies and practices.

Altria on Thursday also reiterated its full year adjusted earnings guidance of between $ 2.17 and $ 2.23 per share. She also said that its board declared a regular quarterly dividend of 41 cents per share. The dividend is payable July 10 to shareholders of record on June 15.

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