Non-execs bolster Gallaher board

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American Brands has moved to bolster the board of its soon to be demerged UK tobacco company, Gallaher, with the appointment of five non-executives drawn mainly from the ranks of British industry.

Most prominent among them is Graham Hearne, chairman of Enterprise Oil. The others are Richard Brooke, finance director of BSkyB, John Gildersleeve, commercial and trading director of Tesco, Tom Hays, chairman of American Brands, and Tony Portno, chairman of Bass Leisure and Brewing.

Gallaher, whose principal brands include Benson and Hedges, Silk Cut and Old Holborn, is to be demerged from its American parent later this year after satisfactory rulings from the US tax authorities and stockholder approvals.

The demerger will involve a simple share split. However, American Brands wants Gallaher to be listed on the London Stock Exchange as well as in New York. Over time Gallaher is expected to become more of a British institutional stock than an American one.

Peter Wilson, Gallaher's chairman, said the new non-executives would complement the existing executive directors.