Cigar Aficionado

Management Changes at Davidoff

On the eve of the cigar industry's largest trade show, and a few months into the tenure of its new head of global operations, the Oettinger Davidoff Group announced major changes today to its U.S. management structure.

Peter Baenninger, who has been president of the Swiss company's U.S. operations for 11 years, has been reassigned to corporate headquarters in Basel, Switzerland, and given the new role of head of global retail. His appointment becomes effective on New Year's Day.

James Young, the former president of Guinness U.S.A., has been named president North America of Davidoff of Geneva Distribution Inc. His responsibilities will include managing not only the Davidoff, Avo, Zino, Winston Churchill and The Griffin's cigar brands, but also Camacho and Cusano cigars as well.

Christian Eiroa, formerly the president of Camacho Cigars, which is a subsidiary of Davidoff, will now take on the role of adviser to the company.

These are some of the early moves made by Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard, who joined Davidoff March 1 and assumed the role of president and chief executive officer of Davidoff Oettinger Group on April 10. Hoejsgaard replaced Reto Cina, who retired in May.

Jim Young was named president North America of Davidoff of Geneva Distribution Inc.
Jim Young

Young, who starts in his new position on September 1, will work out of Davidoff's new headquarters in Pinellas Park, Florida, and will appear at the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers show next week in Nevada. "He will make a quick appearance in Las Vegas," said Hoejsgaard during an interview this morning with Cigar Aficionado.

Prior to running the American operations of Guinness, Young was with spirits giant Diageo in London, and from 1985 to 2001 he held a variety of positions with Joseph E. Seagram & Sons.

Hoejsgaard said Eiroa would be an adviser, reporting directly to him, consulting on Camacho cigar production, product development and operating as the brand ambassador. "He will be back to his more entrepreneurial traits," said Hoejsgaard.

Baenninger's "success in building our retail stores in the United States," said Hoejsgaard, "makes him ideally positioned and particularly qualified to take on this new and important global retail role."

Hoejsgaard recently sat down for a wide-ranging interview with Cigar Aficionado. The Q&A will appear in the next issue of the magazine.


Note: An earlier version of this story had the incorrect starting date and title of Hoejsgaard.