Jorge Luís Fernández Maique, the former co-president of Habanos S.A., Cuba's cigar monopoly, has been relieved of his duties at the company, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.
Several other top officials, including the chief legal counsel of Habanos, were also removed from their posts, according to the sources. The other officials were mostly involved in the company's internal operations.
There was no immediate explanation for the dismissals.
Habanos executives, including the current co-presidents, were unavailable for comment. However, according to the sources, the dismissals, which took place Tuesday, were announced yesterday in an internal memo.
Maique, as he is known throughout the cigar business, worked in the Cuban tobacco industry for more than 20 years, and had a long, respected career at Habanos. He served as Habanos co-president from February 2011 to November 2012. At the time of his dismissal, he was the company's commercial vice-president, with responsibilities for the international distribution and marketing of the company's cigars. The multilingual executive was also formerly the head of Coprava, which distributed Habanos cigars in France. And, he was often credited with the creative concept behind Cohiba Behike, the brand's super-luxury line extension that is now one of the most sought-after cigars in the world and a former Cigar Aficionado Cigar of the Year.
Note: Updated August 19 for clarification