Philip Morris International (PMI) has appointed Branislav Bibic as its new Managing Director in South Africa. He succeeds outgoing MD Marcelo Nico who has taken over the leadership role at PMI in Portugal.
Bibic hails from Croatia and previously served as Managing Director of Philip Morris in Romania for 4 years from 2016. He has extensive international experience in the industry and spearheaded PMI’s transformation in Romania resulting in the accelerated growth of the company’s heated tobacco product, IQOS, in the market.
“I am honoured by this appointment and look forward to working with the team to pursue our vision of a smoke-free South Africa through the successful rollout of our reduced-risk products,” says Bibic. “Delivering a smoke-free future, where cigarettes are replaced with smoke-free alternatives for adults who would otherwise continue to smoke, is a vital contribution we can make to a sustainable world and a sustainable company.”
“Philip Morris South Africa will continue to work with the authorities in a constructive and transparent manner to ensure a fair and predictable fiscal and regulatory market,” he explains. “This is an important step to strengthen the company’s innovative approach in the South African market.
Bibic adds: “It is important that adult smokers are aware of smoke-free products and understand that burning tobacco, not nicotine, is the primary cause of smoking-related diseases. Smoke-free products like IQOS eliminate burning so they produce no smoke, and significantly reduce the formation of and exposure to harmful chemicals compared to cigarette smoke.”
He states that by heating instead of burning the tobacco, the IQOS tobacco heating system doesn’t create smoke and emits on average 95% lower levels of harmful chemicals compared to the smoke of a reference cigarette. This does not necessarily equal a 95% reduction in risk. IQOS is not risk-free.
“A supportive regulatory framework and tax regime for smoke-free products will enable adult smokers to have all the information they need and to make better choices than continued smoking,” he says. “Regulatory frameworks that differentiate smoke-free alternatives from combustible cigarettes in order to promote public health already exist. For instance, the U.S. FDA Modified Risk Tobacco Product Application process sets a clear pathway for the assessment of and potential authorization of claims relating to tobacco and nicotine-containing products that are scientifically substantiated to be a better choice than cigarettes for adults who would otherwise continue to smoke.”
Prior to his posting in Romania, Bibic held the role of Global Director of Corporate Affairs for the company’s duty-free business. He joined Philip Morris in 2007 and progressed through various key positions across Central Europe and was appointed General Manager in Croatia in 2012. Branislav holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Oxford.
“Bransilav has a powerful combination of strategic long-term focus and drive for results based on operational excellence and superior consumer experience,” says outgoing Managing Director, Marcelo Nico. “He is an empowering leader, a strong communicator and passionate talent developer.”