Thomas Briant, executive director and founder of the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO), will retire from leadership of the trade association this year, according to a report from cigar news site Halfwheel. Briant is set to retire on or before Dec. 31.
NATO’s board of directors has begun a search for the organization’s next executive director. Board President Chris Beaulier will serve as the contact person for the search.
“I want to express my sincere gratitude to all of those NATO members that I have worked with over the years and who supported the association since it was formed in 2001, and I look forward to seeking new challenges in the industry,” Briant said in a press release.
Briant founded NATO 23 years ago. The organization’s mission is to enhance the business interests of retailers that sell tobacco and nicotine products, as well as to support the legislative and regulatory interests of its 66,000 members, including tobacco manufacturers, distributors and accessory producers. NATO also seeks to encourage the expansion of the retail tobacco and nicotine market in a responsible manner.
Additionally, NATO monitors and assists its members in responding to tobacco-related legislation on the local, state and federal levels. The organization educates on the impact that proposed legislation and regulations would have on tobacco retailers and the adult customers they serve.