Tobacco giant Altria has named Shannon Leistra president and CEO of NJOY upon completing its $2.75 billion acquisition of the e-cigarette startup, according to a Thursday announcement.
Leistra succeeds former NJOY CEO Ryan Nivakoff. Altria did not specify whether Nivakoff is moving into a new role or leaving the combined companies altogether.
Leistra has held numerous positions across Altria’s sales and brand management teams since joining the company in 2004, according to her LinkedIn bio. Most recently, she was senior vice president and consumer experience officer, a role she took on in January.
For over four years before that, Leistra was president and CEO of Altria subsidiary U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company (USSTC). Other roles Leistra has held at Altria include general manager of the Nat Sherman brand, director of Marlboro and national sales manager.
“We are excited to combine our resources with NJOY’s talented team to benefit adult tobacco consumers across the country,” Leistra said in the announcement.
Altria agreed to acquire NJOY in early March. NJOY's products will now be distributed by Altria Group Distribution Company.
As previously outlined, the acquisition gives Altria access to NJOY’s full product portfolio, including NJOY ACE, which Altria says is the only pod-based e-vapor product that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved for marketing. Altria has identified roughly 70,000 U.S. retail stores for its initial ACE expansion phase, according to Thursday’s announcement.
“The completion of this transaction is a transformative step in our goal of Moving Beyond Smoking,” said Billy Gifford, CEO of Altria, in the announcement.
Richmond, Virginia-based Altria owns a variety of combustible and smoke-free tobacco manufacturers, including Philip Morris USA, John Middleton Co., USSTC and Helix Innovations. Altria's tobacco brand portfolio includes Marlboro, Black & Mild, Copenhagen and Skoal.