Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI) (NYSE: PM) is pleased to announce that Jacek Olczak was appointed CEO following the company’s 2021 Annual Shareholders Meeting on May 5. Mr. Olczak—most recently the company’s Chief Operating Officer—was also elected to the Board of Directors. André Calantzopoulos, who served as PMI’s Chief Executive Officer from 2013 until May 5, 2021, was appointed Executive Chairman of the Board prior to the meeting. The appointments follow the announcement of PMI’s leadership transition in December 2020.
In accepting the appointment, Mr. Olczak committed to accelerating PMI’s smoke-free transformation, announced in 2016. 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.
Mr. Olczak said: “I am humbled and excited to lead PMI as we accelerate our transformation into a smoke-free company. 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. We will lean into our scientific research and expertise, using our collective skills and imagination to innovate beyond our existing portfolio and explore new areas of business development.”
Mr. Olczak, 56, began his career with PMI in 1993. He started 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, before being appointed Chief Financial Officer in 2012. He held that position until 2018, when he became PMI’s Chief Operating Officer. He holds a master’s degree in economics from the University of Lodz, Poland.
Mr. Olczak has been a vital driver of PMI’s smoke-free transformation, which moved into its commercialization phase with the launch of IQOS in Nagoya, 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. Further, under Mr. Olczak’s leadership as COO, the company grew the geographical coverage of PMI’s smoke-free products from zero to 66 markets in key cities or nationwide as of March 31, 2021. And he led PMI’s commercial transformation, successfully developing it from a primarily business-to-business company to an increasingly business-to-consumer company.
Mr. Calantzopoulos said: “Jacek is ideally placed to deliver PMI’s smoke-free vision in his new role as CEO. His passion for the company and our employees underpins his drive for results, as does his deep knowledge of our products, systems, values, and investors. I believe he is the ideal leader to ensure our business’s continued growth and deliver shareholder value. I look forward to continuing to work with him in my new capacity as Executive Chairman of the Board.”
Daniel Cuevas, Managing Director, Philip Morris Romania, stated: “Jacek, together with André, steered PMI’s smoke-free transformation internationally, and his skills and expertise portend an exciting new chapter for PMI. It is an exciting new chapter also for Philip Morris Romania, as Jacek is familiar with the local market and its challenges, since his time as Managing Director here. Building a smoke-free Romania and converting all Romanian adult smokers to scientifically-substantiated better alternatives is an ambitious goal and it can only be achieved if the current adult smokers have access to accurate information on better alternatives to smoking and are encouraged to switch to these alternatives, something entirely realistic if we take into account evidence coming from countries such as Japan, and others where cigarettes are rapidly being replaced by better alternatives. We are facing a great challenge here in Romania , as the adoption of reduced-risk products is still very small, but at the same time this is an opportunity from our side to offer better alternatives to the million adults who continue smoking. We believe that a smoke-free Romania is possible and can be achieved faster if scientists, the public health community, competitors and other stakeholders play their role. These adult smokers should know that there are better choices. PMI’s commitment to Romania is also shown by our investment of almost 500 million Euros in the Otopeni factory, thus transforming it in one of its cutting-edge manufacturing units worldwide, focused on developing production capabilities for IQOS consumables.”