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Philip Morris says CFO King steps down to head new America division

FILE PHOTO: Shop attendants serve a customer at a Philip Morris iQOS store in Tel Aviv, Israel November 16, 2017. Picture taken November 16, 2017. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

(Reuters) - Tobacco giant Philip Morris International Inc PM.N said on Monday Martin King will step down as chief financial officer to head the newly created America division, which has a licensing deal with Altria Group to sell heated-tobacco device IQOS.

Philip Morris said Emmanuel Babeau, Chief Financial Officer and Deputy Chief Executive Officer at France's Schneider Electric SCHN.PA, will take King's role as finance chief in May.

IQOS, a "reduced risk" alternative to traditional cigarettes, was developed by Philip Morris and is sold in the United States through a partnership with U.S. Marlboro maker Altria Group Inc MO.N.

The device is central to Philip Morris’ efforts to overhaul its image through initiatives like its “unsmoke” campaign, which promotes “smoke-free” alternatives like IQOS as a way to accelerate the shift away from cigarettes.

However, the company’s marketing strategy for the device has drawn ire overseas for mimicking tobacco companies in the mid-20th century, when cigarettes were associated with Hollywood and high society.

Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath

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