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Philip Morris Cos. Inc., the world's top tobacco manufacturer, said Chairman and Chief Executive Geoffrey Bible would retire in August 2002 at the mandatory retirement age of 65.
The maker of tobacco category leader Marlboro and Miller Beer also said that Chief Operating Officer William Webb was named vice chairman of the board. Webb, who will also be 65 next August, will remain COO and assist Bible and the board in the transition to a new leadership, before retiring with Bible, the company said in a statement.
Bible's exit was not unexpected, and the company is likely to follow its tradition of finding a successor from within, specifically from within its tobacco operations, analysts said.
Prudential Securities' tobacco analyst Rob Campagnino identified Louis Camilleri, chief financial officer of Philip Morris Cos., and Michael Szymanczyk, head of the company's U.S. tobacco unit,
Philip Morris U.S.A. as two possible successors, the Associated Press reported.
A Philip Morris spokesman declined to comment on potential successors or how long it would take to pick a new leader for the company.