Manufacturing: WILLIAM F. ‘BILLY’ GIFFORD
CEO, ALTRIA GROUP INC., RICHMOND
Gifford has served as the tobacco products manufacturer’s chief executive for two years but has ties going back more than 25 years, having served as president and CEO of subsidiary Philip Morris USA.
This year has been a challenging one for Altria, with the Food and Drug Administration announcing its intention to reduce nicotine levels in cigarettes and ban domestic sales of Juul e-cigarettes. Altria is a 35% owner of the vaping company and has written down more than $12 billion of its initial investment of $12.8 billion in Juul.
Meanwhile, Altria, which reported $26 billion in 2021 net revenue, is also barred from selling its IQOS tobacco-heating systems after competitor R.J. Reynolds won a November 2021 ruling by the U.S. International Trade Commission.
Gifford, who holds a bachelor’s degree in business and accounting from Virginia Commonwealth University, worked at Coopers & Lybrand (now PricewaterhouseCoopers) before joining Philip Morris USA. He was Altria’s vice chairman and chief financial officer before his promotion to CEO. He serves on the board of Anheuser-Busch InBev.