New Philip Morris chief reaffirms partnership with Lucio Tan

Published May 7, 2021, 10:58 AM

by Chino S. Leyco

The newly appointed chief of the Lausanne-based Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI), the company behind Marlboro and IQOS, reaffirmed their “successful” partnership with Filipino billionaire Lucio Tan.

Following the announcement of Jacek Olczak’s appointment as new PMI CEO, the 56-year-old executive said their joint venture with the Tan-led Fortune Tobacco Corp. in the Philippines has remained solid amid the evolving tobacco industry.

New Philip Morris International CEO Jacek Olczak

“Our business combinations with the Tan family of the Fortune Tobacco proven to be very successful. Definitely in Philippines I am extremely happy with our partnership with the Tans,” Olczak said during a virtual briefing on Thursday, May 7.

As PMI’s global operations move away from combustible cigarettes, Olczak said the business transformation of its local affiliate PMFTC Inc. has “started slowly but surely.”

Despite challenges brought about the COVID-19 pandemic, Olczak said that PMI and the Tan family, through their joint venture firm PMFTC, have successfully brought IQOS, a patented heat-control technology, to the Philippines.

In 2020, PMFTC has commercialized IQOS in the country to legal age users 21 years old and above. The IQOS.COM website was also launched where the IQOS device, as well as the HEETS tobacco sticks and device accessories, were offered. 

To date, there are 15 IQOS stores within Metro Manila offering IQOS to adult smokers who would otherwise continue to smoke or use nicotine-containing products.

Prior to Olczak’s latest appointment, he was PMI’s chief operating officer (COO). He succeeded André Calantzopoulos who served as the company CEO from 2013 until May 5, 2021.

In accepting the appointment, Olczak vowed to accelerate PMI’s smoke-free transformation.

He noted that 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.

“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 said.

Olczak has been a vital driver of PMI’s smoke-free transformation, which moved into its commercialization phase with the launch of IQOS in 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.

In addition, PMI grew the geographical coverage of its smoke-free products from zero to 66 markets in key cities or nationwide at end-March 2021. 

Olczak also led PMI’s commercial transformation, successfully developing it from a primarily business-to-business company to an increasingly business-to-consumer company.

Olczak began his career with PMI in 1993, starting in finance and general management positions across Europe, including as Managing Director of PMI’s markets in Poland and Germany and as President of the European Union Region. Olczak holds a master’s degree in economics from the University of Lodz, Poland.