Cigar Aficionado

Freeman to Retire from Swedish Match

Swedish Match AB, one of the largest cigar companies in the world, recently announced that executive vice president Lennart Freeman will be retiring after more than 30 years of service.

His retirement is effective March 1.

Freeman joined Swedish Match in 1975, and was appointed to the company's group management team in 1999. In 2005 he was named executive vice president of the company and oversaw the company's global cigar business, which included General Cigar, the maker of some of the world's biggest premium cigar brands, including Macanudo, La Gloria Cubana, Punch, Partagas and many others.

Freeman helped foster Swedish Match's growth in the cigar industry, as he played a part in the deal to acquire Cigars International Inc., one of the largest Internet retailers of machine-made and premium cigars, in 2007. Freeman was also part of the team that successfully executed the merger of the company's cigar and pipe tobacco businesses with Scandinavian Tobacco Group last year. The new company sells about 2.5 billion cigars each year.

In his 33 years with the company, Freeman has held such positions as president of the North America Division, president of the Cigarette Division, Managing Director for Cricket lighters, as well as other marketing and development jobs. His latest position is president of the lights operating unit, a position he took over last year. The lights unit focuses on the production and sale of Cricket disposable lighters, Fiat Lux wood matches, and other lighting products.

"Lennart has been a valued member of the Group Management Team, and brought leadership and determination in making change happen. On behalf of all of the employees of Swedish Match, I wish Lennart and his family the very best for the future," said President and CEO Lars Dahlgren.