Philip Morris SA to Accelerate Smoke-Free Ambitions with New Financial Director

Philip Morris South Africa (PMSA) has appointed Buena Barnes as its new Financial Director. The appointment underpins the organisation’s goal to replace cigarettes with less harmful alternatives for those who choose to continue using tobacco, as soon as possible.

“As a company we are leading the transformation of the industry in our pursuit to go smoke-free; since 2008, Philip Morris International (PMI) has invested more than USD 9 billion into the science, research and commercialization of smoke-free products, employing hundreds of world-class scientists, engineers, and technicians in our R&D efforts,” says Branislav Bibic, Managing Director at PMSA.

“PMI’s pre-clinical and clinical programs are inspired by the pharmaceutical industry and aligned with internationally recognised good practices, with more than 425 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters published since 2008,” he explains. “We’re attracting great talent globally to assist us in our journey to replace cigarettes with smoke-free alternatives and we are very excited to have Buena join our team.”

Last year, PMI announced its ambition for smoke free products to account for more than 50% of its total net revenues by 2025 – by end 2021, this figure reached 29%, up from essentially 0% five years ago.

Commenting on her appointment as Financial Director to a tobacco company, Barnes says that PMI’s scientific and technological leadership, its significant investment to replace cigarettes with less harmful alternatives as soon as possible, and the global success of its IQOS heat-not-burn tobacco product were compelling factors in her decision.

Barnes adds that she is excited about the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in joining a Global Top Employer and equal salary certified company like PMI. “I am inspired to join an organisation and leadership team that is committed to providing adults who smoke with better, scientifically substantiated alternatives to cigarettes.

“PMI’s future is centred on health, science, technology, and sustainable business practices to deliver innovative products and solutions that aim to improve people’s lives and create a positive impact on society,” she says.

She adds that she is looking forward to assisting the company in achieving its financial commitments with strategic financial guidance and management.

Before joining PMSA, Barnes served as Head of Finance for GlaxoSmithKline SA for over five years, initially joining the Consumer Health Care business in the GMS (Global Manufacturing & Supply) Division and then undertook the responsibility of executing the financial and business strategy for the pharmaceutical and vaccines business in South Africa.

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