Njoy Leadership Changes Following Altria Acquisition

Tobacco company plans to expand Njoy Ace in retail stores
Altria and Njoy
Logos/Altria, Njoy

Njoy has a new president and CEO, Altria announced Thursday after completing its acquisition of the e-vapor company. Shannon Leistra, who previously was senior vice president and consumer experience officer at Altria Client Services LLC, is taking on the role as the company looks to promote the Njoy Ace e-cigarette product.

Leistra previously was the president and CEO of U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co., a subsidiary of Altria Group, Richmond, Virginia.

“We are excited to combine our resources with Njoy’s talented team to benefit adult tobacco consumers across the country,” Leistra said.

Altria announced Thursday its acquisition of Njoy was final, following its initial announcement in March on its intent to acquire Njoy for about $2.75 billion. At the time, Altria also said it would be dropping its shares in e-cigarette company Juul.

The transaction is a step forward in its goal of moving beyond smoking, Billy Gifford, Altria’s CEO, said.

“We are pleased to have received antitrust clearance and we are now fully focused on responsibly accelerating U.S. adult smoker and adult vaper adoption of Njoy Ace, currently the only pod-based e-vapor product to receive marketing authorization from the [Food and Drug Administration],” he said.

Njoy’s products will be distributed by Altria Group Distribution Co., whose salesforce has significant U.S. retail coverage and decades of experience supporting the responsible retailing of tobacco products, the company said. The immediate focus is on optimizing the Njoy Ace brand, Altria said, including enhancing Ace’s brand equity to increase the brand’s awareness and appeal among adult smokers and vapors and identifying opportunities in existing stores, such as distribution gaps and merchandising improvements.

Altria has identified about 70,000 U.S. retail stores for its initial Ace expansion phase. The stores represent about 70% of e-vapor volume and 55% of cigarette volume sold in the U.S. multi-outlet and convenience channel, the company said.

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