The new chief executive of Philip Morris International described the company’s partnership with Lucio Tan’s Fortune Tobacco Corp. as “very successful” and expressed resolve to accelerate the company’s smoke-free vision in the Philippines.
Jacek Olczak, who was appointed CEO following the company’s 2021 annual shareholders’ meeting on May 5, said “our business combination with [the] Tan family’s Fortune Tobacco has proven to be very successful.”
PMFTC Inc., the leading tobacco company in the Philippines, is a 50-50 business combination between PMI and FTC. “This is a case of one plus one is equal to more than two,” Olczak said in a global virtual conference shortly after taking over as CEO.
Olczak’s appointment to the top position of PMI came as the company is in the middle of its ambitious vision to deliver a smoke-free future by eliminating combustible cigarettes at the soonest possible time.
He acknowledged how this smoke-free vision started in the Philippines as the company brought its non-combustible alternative product for adult smokers who would otherwise continue to smoke. “We start slowly but surely getting focused on bringing IQOS to the Philippines,” he said.
PMFTC commercialized IQOS in Metro Manila last year to legal age users 21 years old and above. The IQOS.COM website was launched on June 5, 2020 where the IQOS device and HEETS tobacco sticks and device accessories, were offered.
There are 15 IQOS stores within the National Capital Region offering IQOS to adult smokers who would otherwise continue to smoke or use nicotine-containing products.
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.
“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,” he said.
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.
He 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.
Under his 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.
Olczak succeeded Andre Calantzopoulos, who served as PMI’s CEO from 2013 until May 5, 2021 and was appointed executive chairman of the board of PMI.