Issues, Rumors and Need-to-Know Numbers From the Final NATO Show
“If ‘Mr. Serious’ Tom Briant says it’s going to be a party, you know it’s going to be a good time.”
This is how NATO executive director Thomas Briant described the awards dinner at this year’s NATO Show—but really, it was an apt statement for the conference’s last hurrah.
There was no shortage of hot topics: lingering rumors that an announcement of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) final deeming regulations was “imminent,” the cigarette category’s recent sales surge, and sluggish performance from the once-scorching vapor category.
There were also familiar faces: Bonnie Herzog of Wells Fargo Securities, Don Burke of Management Science Associates (MSA) and Keith Canning of Pine State Trading Co.
Attendees were again granted the opportunity to question Mitch Zeller, the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) director. Though he remained tight-lipped on a number of issues, he was vocal about why he attends such industry-driven events. “The dialogue and mutual respect I’ve always felt with [tobacco] retailers needs to continue—even if we at times have to agree to disagree,” Zeller said.
Read on for the top takeaways from the 2016 NATO Show.