About a year ago, Reynolds American chief executive Susan Ivey figured federal cigarette taxes would take a big jump just as the economy was shriveling.
The higher cost would mean fewer sales, a squeeze on profits.
In advance of the 62 cent per-pack April 1 tax hike, the largest in history, Ivey led a stepped-up marketing campaign to promote Pall Mall cigarettes, one of Reynolds' mid-priced offerings. Sales soared for the 110-year-old brand, and Pall Mall's market share jumped an unprecedented 82 percent from the first quarter to the second quarter. Workers added overtime shifts to keep up with demand.
"That involves, from a leadership perspective, turning challenges into competitive opportunities," Ivey said. "That requires an organization that isn't deer-in-headlights freaked out by the changes."
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