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BAT appoints new chief executive

LONDON, Jun 24 – British American Tobacco, the world\’s second-biggest cigarette maker, said on Thursday that its chief executive will retire next year and will be replaced by chief operating officer Nicandro Durante.

"Nicandro Durante will become chief executive of British American Tobacco plc on the retirement of Paul Adams at the end of February 2011," BAT said in an official statement.

"In anticipation of his new role, Nicandro will become chief executive designate on 1 September 2010. He will be succeeded in his current role as chief operating officer by John Daly, also on 1 September 2010."

Durante, 53, is an Italian who grew up in Brazil. He joined BAT in 1991 and has held a series of senior jobs at the company in Africa and Middle East, Brazil, Britain and Hong Kong.

"It is an honor to succeed Paul and I am confident that our proven strategy, focused on growth, productivity, responsibility and developing a winning organization, will continue to serve shareholders very well," Durante said in the statement.

Adams, 57, who joined BAT from US giant PepsiCo in 1991, will leave the company after serving six years as chief executive. A company spokesman told Dow Jones Newswires that he planned to spend more time with his family.

"It\’s been a great nine years, two as managing director and seven as chief executive," added Adams in the company release.

"I feel privileged to have led such a strong management team but this is the right time to make a change, both for me and for the company."

Following news of Durante\’s appointment, BAT\’s share price fell 0.89 percent to 2,133.74 pence in early trade on London\’s benchmark FTSE 100, which was down 0.81 percent overall to 5,136.82 points.

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