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Movers and Shakers

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Carlos Toraño
President, Central America Tobacco Corp.
Carlos Toraño, 59, is a third-generation cigar manufacturer; his son Charlie is fourth-generation. Together they run Toraño Cigars, building on a cigar-making tradition that dates back to 1916 when Carlos Toraño's grandfather immigrated to Cuba from Spain. In 2002, with a "solid market and serious smokers," Toraño used its family tradition to provide top-quality premium cigars to retailers and consumers. Along with making cigars for such names as C.A.O. and the Newmans, Toraño has released its own lines of Honduran cigars, including the Carlos Toraño Exodus 1959. Carlos Toraño believes in creating complex blends for the "maturing and demanding smoker." He also believes in attaching his family's history to his cigars instead of being a faceless company. "Our goal," says Toraño, "is to build brand awareness by personalizing our cigars with consumers and offering them the best value."


Alberto Turrent IV
President, Nueva Matacapan de Tabacos S.A.
The first name in Mexican cigar brands is Te-Amo, and the name behind Te-Amo is Turrent, a fifth-generation family business that owns Nueva Matacapan de Tabacos S.A., the makers of the brand. The Turrents have been farming tobacco in Mexico since 1880, and today Alberto Turrent IV, 60, is the patriarch. Known for using all-Mexican tobacco, the Te-Amo brand was first exported to New York City in 1964. Quickly, the puros gained popularity, and they remain the best-selling Mexican cigars in the United States. However, as the demand for fuller flavored cigars started to take shape in the late 1990s, Turrent and his family decided to start experimenting with tobacco grown outside of the San Andres Valley. The Te-Amo Anniversary and the Te-Amo Cabinet Selection feature Dominican, Nicaraguan and Brazilian tobacco in their blends, bringing an added complexity of flavor to the Turrents' cigars.


Antonio Vázquez
V.P., Chief Operating Officer, Altadis S.A.
It's hard to think of someone in the cigar business more dynamic than 50-year-old Antonio Vázquez. He oversees aspects of the world's largest and most important cigar business. According to the Altadis 2001 annual report, the company has a 27 percent share of the global cigar market, selling 3.3 billion premium and mass-market smokes in 2001. It reported cigar revenues of approximately $765 million for the year, excluding excise taxes.
Many credit Vázquez for masterminding the creation of Altadis's impressive cigar portfolio, not only the merger of Spain's Tabacalera S.A. with France's SEITA in December 1999, but also with prior acquisitions in the United States, including Havatampa and Hollco-Rohr.
A keen cigar smoker and bon vivant, Vázquez believes that the future for the premium cigar world is making better and better quality cigars, wherever that may be -- Cuba, the Dominican Republic or Honduras.
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