Cigar Industry

General Cigar and Giannini Part Ways

Sep 22, 2016 | By David Savona
General Cigar and Giannini Part Ways
Photo/Camilla Sjodin
Michael Giannini hosting the "Roll Your Own" cigar seminar at the 2015 Big Smoke Las Vegas.

Michael Giannini, creative director of General Cigar Co., has parted ways with the Richmond, Virginia company, the maker of Macanudos, La Gloria Cubanas and many other cigars.

Giannini had been with General for 17 years. In March, 2012, he was promoted to his role as creative director, which also carried the title of director of innovations. He was responsible for coming up with non-traditional cigar releases, and started the Foundry Cigar Co., a subsidiary of General dedicated to unorthodox cigars, including the signature Foundry brand. It featured cigars made from blends of tobacco he wouldn't reveal, packed in odd-shaped boxes, one of which came together in a shape reminiscent of a bundle of TNT.

General spoke highly of Giannini, and Giannini spoke highly of his former company.

"Michael Giannini's creativity and unconventional approach to innovation resulted in many contributions to the company and our brands," said Alan S. Willner, vice president of marketing for General Cigar. "Given the FDA and its impact on new product development, Michael has decided to look for opportunities more in line with his creative passion. Michael is a friend to many of us and we wish him much happiness and success."

"My time at General Cigar has been nothing but fruitful and happy," Giannini said to Cigar Aficionado in a phone interview. "I have loved the time I spent there."

Giannini has worked in the cigar industry for more than 30 years, first as a cigar store clerk in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania when he was 21, and later as a sales manager and then director of marketing for the La Gloria Cubana brand before taking on his larger role at General.

"A musician knows when to stop playing when they don't have any more songs," Giannini told Cigar Aficionado. "I'm not done playing."

General Cigar Co.
"Nice guy, yes.cigars disappointing at best.he's no AJ.Fernandez.not a fan of general cigars." —September 28, 2016 10:54 AM
"I wonder when the non-compete clause is up so he can launch whatever brand he has in mind." —September 23, 2016 09:35 AM
"All the best - He has did a GOOD Job." —September 22, 2016 20:09 PM
"It was a pleasure talking to you over the years at the Big Smoke Las Vegas. You will be missed, enjoy your new adventures." —September 22, 2016 19:46 PM

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