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Movers and Shakers

CA Staff
From the Print Edition:
10th Anniversary Issue, Nov/Dec 02

A collection of profiles about leading members of the cigar industry.

Oscar Basulto
Habanos S.A.,

Oscar Basulto is the most powerful man in the world of Cuban cigars. Not only is he the joint head of the global Cuban cigar distributor Habanos S.A., he is the president of Tabacuba, the umbrella organization that coordinates the production of all tobacco products on the island, from handmade cigars to bulk tobacco shipments.

The 58-year-old Cuban is a straight-talking, salt-of-the-earth character who enjoys a good joke as well as a fine cigar, but he's extremely serious when it comes to his job. Tabacuba, created in 2000, has a workforce of more than 250,000, and oversees the annual production of some 280 million to 300 million cigars -- about half for domestic consumption. The $240 million company also supervises the production of about 10 billion cigarettes and exports 12,000 tons of bulk tobacco. Basulto, who has worked in agriculture since the early 1960s, says his current posts give him the most satisfaction. "I am working for one of the most prestigious products of my country," he says.

—James Suckling

Jim Colucci
Senior V.P., Sales and Marketing, Altadis U.S.A. Inc.

Jim Colucci, 56, oversees the sales and marketing plans for the impressive portfolio of brands owned by Altadis U.S.A, the largest manufacturer of cigars in the United States and part of the Altadis S.A. Group, the largest maker and marketer of cigars in the world. Colucci has spent virtually his entire career in the cigar business, mainly working with domestic, or mass-market, cigars for the first 20 years. In 1998, he was named to his current post, which also includes the oversight of all of Altadis's premium cigars. During the past four years, Colucci was involved in the difficult task of reestablishing some equilibrium in the cigar market, working through the huge inventories built up during the boom, and helping to stabilize the production capacity on the manufacturing side. Colucci argues that today the product being shipped to the market is better than it has ever been.

—Gordon Mott

Theo Folz
President and CEO, Altadis U.S.A. Inc.

Theo Folz, 59, has been a key player in the integration of the former Consolidated Cigar Corp. into the global conglomerate created by the merger of Tabacalera de España and France's SEITA. Altadis U.S.A. produces many brands, including Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta, H. Upmann and Onyx Reserve, and is the distributor for Te-Amo cigars in the United States. Folz has spent his entire life in the cigar business. When he was five he tagged along with his father, a cigar salesman, on sales calls. Folz believes strongly that the cigar market is healthier today than it's ever been, and that the total number of cigar smokers is at least double what it was 10 years ago.

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