President of Villiger-Stokkebye Resigns, New President Takes Office
- February 29, 2012 |
- By G. Clay Whittaker
is a new president at cigar and pipe tobacco giant Villiger-Stokkebye
International Corp. The company announced former president Erik
Stokkebye’s resignation in a letter yesterday, which was quickly
followed by the announcement of Roy MacLaren taking his place.
MacLaren has been in the tobacco business for 30 years, 17 of which were spent specifically in the cigar industry. He was a vice president at Gurkha Cigars (Beach Cigar Group) for eight years.
“This is a great opportunity with wonderful fourth generation tobacconists,” MacLaren said, “and I couldn’t be more excited.”
MacLaren told Cigar Aficionado that he plans to bring renewed focus to the company’s cigar interests. “My objective is to bring the best product to the U.S. market that I can, and I’ll be working in the blending process going forward.”
The new president has actually been on the job since Monday, when he met with sales teams. MacLaren says the company wants to be recognized as more than just a pipe tobacco producer. “We’re now a cigar company that sells pipe tobacco,” he said, adding that they sold 1.2 billion cigars worldwide in 2011, most of which were made by machine.
Villiger-Stokkebye International’s North American arm is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. The corporation is in the process of renaming this branch Villiger North America. The company’s handmade cigars, which include Villiger 1888 and La Libertad, are made in the Dominican Republic at the ABAM Cigars S.A. factory in Santo Domingo, the capital city.
There is currently no word on what Erik Stokkebye, who has been with the company since 2000, plans to do in the future. Stokkebye started as president of Peter Stokkebye International in 2000, which at the time was owned by Orlik Tobacco of Denmark. In 2005, they teamed up with Villiger to make the company Villiger-Stokkebye. Villiger brought the addition of both handmade cigars and machine-made cigars to the new company's product portfolio, which still included pipe and roll-your-own tobaccos.