Philip Morris International Inc has appointed two former US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials to key positions at a time when tobacco companies have come under intense regulatory and public scrutiny.
The maker of Marlboro cigarettes said Badrul Chowdhury, who spent more than two decades at the FDA, has been named as chief life sciences officer, joining from a US-based biotech firm.
Chowdhury's LinkedIn page shows he is the chief medical officer at Savara, a company focused on rare respiratory diseases.
Commenting on the appointment, Philip Morris CEO Jacek Olczak said, "He is an accomplished scientist and regulatory strategist, with decades of leadership experience, both in industry and as a regulator within the US FDA’s Pulmonary Division. His wealth of knowledge and experience will be critical to help achieve our ambition of a smoke-free future."
Scrutiny From Regulators
Tobacco companies have also faced heightened scrutiny from regulators, lawmakers and state attorneys general over the appeal of its e-cigarettes to teenagers.
Philip Morris said Matthew Holman has been named as the vice president of US scientific engagement and regulatory strategy, joining from the FDA, where he helped guide policy decisions and oversee a regulatory science research program for tobacco products.
President of PMI Americas, Deepak Mishra, commented, "As we transform, we recognise the importance of bringing together diverse perspectives, including those of regulatory bodies and the scientific community. Matt’s solid scientific and stakeholder knowledge, combined with his passion for tobacco harm reduction, will be invaluable.”
The appointments follow the addition of another former FDA official, Keagan Lenihan, to a senior role earlier this year.
Elsewhere, activist investor Elliott Investment Management's stake in Swedish Match crossed 5% last week, making it the biggest shareholder in the tobacco and nicotine products maker that is currently subject to a takeover offer by Philip Morris.