Susan Cameron

Susan Cameron, CEO, Reynolds American
ROI Podcast Episode 14

In CEO Podcast Series by Brandt A. HandleyLeave a Comment

Susan M. Cameron served as president and CEO, as well as executive and non-executive chair of the board of directors, of Reynolds American Inc. between 2004-2011 and 2013-2017. When RAI acquired Lorillard, Inc. for about $29 billion in 2015, it was reported to be the largest acquisition undertaken by a female CEO. In the period during which Cameron held leadership roles at RAI, the company’s total return to shareholders increased 1,335 percent, and the company’s stock price rose 627 percent. Cameron also serves as a non-executive director on the board of Tupperware Brands Corporation.

Susan received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Florida and a master’s degree in business administration from Bellarmine University. A brand marketer at heart, Cameron started her career in the tobacco industry in 1981 when she joined Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. Susan worked in a number of countries around the globe before returning to the U.S. in 1999 and being named CEO of Brown & Williamson in 2001. When Brown & Williamson’s U.S. business was merged with RAI’s R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in 2004, Susan was named CEO of the new parent company, Reynolds American Inc. Since then; RAI has grown from a market capitalization of about $6 billion to its current valuation of more than $60 billion. Susan’s management philosophy is simple: in the consumer-goods industry, any company’s greatest assets are its brands and its people.

Investing in both is the best way to ensure success. An avid advocate for women’s leadership, Susan frequently speaks to university and professional groups on leadership development. During her tenure as RAI’s CEO, she was recognized multiple times by publications including Forbes magazine, FORTUNE magazine and the Financial Times as one of the most powerful women in business. In 2016, FORTUNE magazine named Cameron as one of its top 50 businesspeople of the year, based both on RAI’s performance under her leadership as well as her record of taking “bold, visionary steps.” Susan is very active in community development activities and has served on the boards of two United Way organizations, the YWCA, Wake Forest University, Salem College, Experiment in Self Reliance, the Winston-Salem Alliance, and Old Salem. Since 2011, she has served on the board of trustees of her undergraduate alma mater, the University of Florida.


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