José Seijas Leaves Altadis

José M. Seijas, the man who has run Altadis U.S.A. Inc.’s most important cigar factory for more than three decades, has stepped down from the company.

Seijas served as vice president and general manager of Tabacalera de Garcia Ltd. in La Romana, Dominican Republic, where Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta and many other handmade and machine-made cigars are produced. His retirement from Altadis is effective immediately.

"I want to salute the great people of Tabacalera for their support during all these years," Seijas wrote in an email to Cigar Aficionado.

This is the second major departure of an Altadis U.S.A. principal figure in less than a year. At the end of the summer, executive vice president of sales and marketing Jim Colucci retired.

Dominican-born Seijas is 61 and he began working for Tabacalera de Garcia at the age of 24, hired to analyze crops and perform other quality-control jobs in La Romana, a town in the eastern part of the country. The Dominican Republic makes more cigars than any other country, but most of them are made in Santiago, far from La Romana.

Tabacalera de Garcia consists of more than a quarter of a million square feet of working space and is likely the world’s largest cigar factory. In addition to the myriad Dominican versions of Romeo y Julieta, Montecristo and H. Upmann, the factory also produces many cigars by machine, including the Backwoods brand.

Seijas’s role will be filled by Javier Elmudesi, a 15-year veteran of Tabacalera de Garcia who will take the title of factory manager. Elmudesi will report to Antonio Gutierrez, operations director, cigar division, for Altadis parent company Imperial Tobacco PLC of the United Kingdom.

In an email to Cigar Aficionado Javier Estades, general manager of Altadis U.S.A., thanked Seijas “for his many years of service to the company and the industry.” In a statement, Altadis said, “the management and employees of Altadis U.S.A. wish José, his wife, Carmen, and the Seijas family all the best.”

For more on José Seijas, click here.

"Hmm, such a High Profile figure like Jose, I wonder where he will end up, and working for whom??" —February 1, 2012 09:07 AM