Manuel Garcia is now part of Villiger International’s handmade cigar division. Formerly the commercial vice president of Cuban monopoly Habanos S.A., Garcia is now Villiger’s senior advisor, marketing development.
Garcia has a history of working with Villiger, as he served as the general manager for 5th Avenue Trading from 1991 to 1995. Founded by Villiger owner and chairman Heinrich Villiger, 5th Avenue Trading is the exclusive Habanos importer for Austria, Poland and Germany, one of the largest markets in the world for Cuban cigars.
After leaving 5th Avenue Trading in 1995, Garcia spent 15 years heading up sales and marketing for Habanos S.A. His tenure with Habanos lasted until 2010. He spent 20 months in a Cuban prison for, according to some reports, selling Cuban cigars into the grey market. Garcia has put it behind him and is looking forward. Now, he’s back with Villiger.
“I feel this to be an overdue reunion,” Villiger said. “Manuel worked alongside me from 1991 to 1995 as general manager of 5th Avenue Products Trading. We look forward to Manuel contributing immediately.”
This time, however, Garcia isn’t working in Germany—he’s based in Santo Domingo, capital of the Dominican Republic and home of the ABAM Cigar Factory where many Villiger cigars are produced, including the newly reblended Flor de Ynclan (a cigar brand whose Robusto recently scored 93 points in Cigar Insider).“The decision for me to join Villiger comes at a time I feel is perfect,” Garcia told Cigar Aficionado. “With the company making such bold moves in the handmade [cigar] category, I see the great potential to widen the brand's reach on a global scale. I'm excited to add my expertise and relationships into the fold. I'm confident the results will be successful.”