Reynolds American CEO to Leave Role at Year's End


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Reynolds American Inc. said Susan Cameron will leave her role as chief executive at the end of the year and be replaced by Debra Crew, who currently serves as president of the company's largest tobacco subsidiary.

The move comes as the company reported revenue and earnings growth for the latest quarter that fell short of Wall Street's expectations Wednesday.

Ms. Crew will take over the CEO role on Jan. 1. The transition has been anticipated since earlier this year when Ms. Cameron's two-year contract was extended by Reynolds's board through April 2017.

Ms. Cameron, who will serve as executive chairman until May 2017, at which time she is expected to become the nonexecutive chairman, said in a statement that Ms. Crew had "quickly mastered the details and dynamics of our industry" and her 20 years of experience in the consumer products industry made her "the ideal fit" to lead the company.

The leadership transition follows a transformational period at Reynolds. Ms. Cameron, who was the company's first chief executive from 2004 until she retired in 2011, returned to the company in 2014 to manage its $25 billion takeover and integration of Lorillard Inc. The deal closed about a year later, and Reynolds has used Lorillard's leading brand, Newport, to boost sales and profits over the past year.

In the latest period, total cigarette volume for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco products fell 2.5% to 20.5 billion in its latest period, as 0.9% growth at the Newport brand, the nation's top menthol cigarette, wasn't enough to offset a 3.7% decline in Camel and a 4.9% decline in Pall Mall. Company wide, volumes fell 1.5%.

Reynolds had benefited recently from its Lorillard acquisition. The companies hoped a combined company would be better able to compete with industry leader and Marlboro owner Altria Group Inc.

Through the deal, Reynolds, maker of Camel and Pall Mall brands, folded in Newport. In September the company said noted smoker John Boehner, the former House speaker, joined the company's board as it faces pressure over menthol cigarettes.

Over all for the September quarter, Reynolds posted earnings of $861 million, or 60 cents a share, compared with $657 million, or 46 a share, a year ago. Excluding items, the company earned 61 cents a share. Analysts, polled by Thomson Reuters, expected 65 cents a share.

Revenue rose 1.4% to $3.2 billion. Analysts expected $3.31 billion.

Reynolds American shares fell 0.6% to $47 in light premarket trading. The stock has fallen 10% in the past three months.

Write to Joshua Jamerson at joshua.jamerson@wsj.com and Tripp Mickle at Tripp.Mickle@wsj.com

Corrections & Amplifications: Reynolds posted earnings of $861 million, compared with $657 million a year ago. An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the amounts as $861 billion and $657 billion.


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