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An Interview with Edgar M. Cullman Sr.

Chairman of the Culbro Corporation
Marvin R. Shanken
From the Print Edition:
Bill Cosby, Autumn 94

(continued from page 3)

Cullman: I can't remember exactly what we paid for it. I think it was around $25 million.

C.A.: How old were you at this time?

Cullman: I was 43.

C.A.: Who made up the group of investors? Were they passive investors, family members, other tobacco people?

Cullman: Cullman Brothers put up some of the money. My family-in-law put up some of the money and some other group, friends of ours, who had been in tobacco and had stocks with us.

On the West Coast, the Haas family, who owned Levi Strauss, put up some of the money. And the Ford Foundation put up some of the money. That was our group.

C.A.: What was your strategy in 1961?

Cullman: I'll be very frank with you. I don't think we had a great plan. I think what we did have was the fact that we had bought a cigar business that was a very good business. We thought it was a good value at the time.

C.A.: With the acquisition, you were in the brand business but at the volume and price end, whereas today you are very much in the premium ends. What was the driving force that moved you from the volume end to the premium end?

Cullman: That evolved. I think what happened was I wanted to grow the business and we had a chance to buy Gradiaz Anis. They made Gold Label cigars. It was a premium cigar and when we bought Gold Label we upgraded our cigar business to much higher-priced cigars.

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Comments   2 comment(s)

Ed Harvey — Auburn, WA, United States,  —  August 31, 2011 3:19am ET

Mr, Cullman you will be missed, and it would have been interesting to see, an updated interview, since things have changed quite a bit since this one was done, along with the loss of smoking rights, and the Cigar Industry in general...

Derek Wotton — Deltona , Florida ,  —  July 21, 2013 6:56pm ET

Wow a look into the past!

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