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C.A.O.’s Chairman Leaves Company

Given the pattern we’ve seen in the last few months with Sam Leccia leaving Oliva Cigar Co., Tim Ozgener leaving C.A.O., and Dr. Reto Cina leaving Davidoff, it came as only a small surprise that Gary Hyams, chairman of C.A.O., stepped down from the position on Monday according to a press release from General Cigar.

Along with Dan Carr, president of General Cigar, Hyams was instrumental in finalizing the joint venture between Swedish Match and Scandinavian Tobacco Group that was announced last October. “Being at the helm of CAO for the past four years has meant a lot to me and I am proud of what my colleagues and I have accomplished,” Hyams commented. “I have great faith in Dan Carr and his team, and I leave CAO fully confident that they will continue to enhance and grow the brand.”

Dan Carr, president of General Cigar commented, saying, “Gary is a strong leader who is responsible for bringing international prominence to C.A.O. I am grateful to him for his dedication to the company and to all that he contributed toward the integration of General Cigar and C.A.O. into the new Scandinavian Tobacco Group.” He added, “Gary has done an exceptional job of preparing my staff and me for the future and we remain committed to continuing the momentum that he and his colleagues have built with C.A.O.”

Gary Hyams was behind such C.A.O. successes as America, Lx2, and La Traviata. He was also greatly involved in the 2009 acquisition of the Toraño and Oliva cigar factories in Nicaragua and Honduras.

It goes without saying that British American Tobacco’s joint venture with Scandinavian Tobacco Group has not been without its consequences, at least on the personnel level. I would imagine the people who are actually behind the both companies’ blends won’t shift around too much, which would allow them to maintain the same standard of quality they’ve become known for over the years. Regardless though, it’s going to be interesting to see how this all pans out.

So with that, we’d like to wish Gary Hyams, the folks at C.A.O., and the rest of Scandinavian Tobacco Group the best of luck in the future. The last four years have seen some of C.A.O.’s best releases, and we can only assume that we haven’t seen the last of Hyams’ involvement in the cigar industry.