LONDON Tobacco company Imperial Brands (IMB.L) has named an expert in medicinal cannabis to its board of directors, it said on Tuesday, the latest example of tobacco companies moving beyond their traditional products.
The maker of Gauloises and Winston cigarettes said it had appointed Simon Langelier, chairman of PharmaCielo Ltd, to its board on June 12. PharmaCielo is a Canadian-based supplier of medicinal-grade cannabis oil extracts and related products.
Analysts estimate the cannabis market could exceed $50 billion over the next decade, fuelled by growing acceptance in North America for uses ranging from pharmaceutical to recreational.
Langelier also worked at tobacco company Philip Morris International (PM.N) for 30 years, where one of his jobs was president of the company's next-generation products, which include e-cigarettes and those that heat tobacco enough to create vapour but not smoke.
Imperial's chairman Mark Williamson said Langelier's extensive international experience in tobacco and other consumer areas would be an asset to the board.
Unlike Philip Morris, British American Tobacco (BATS.L) and Japan Tobacco International (2914.T), Imperial has stayed away from heated tobacco products in the race for cigarette alternatives. But it has tested other products, such as mouth strips that deliver caffeine.
(Reporting by Martinne Geller. Editing by Jane Merriman)