Marcus Steele moving on from Carreras
After two decades in the cigarette market, including six years as the top executive of Carreras, Michael Steele is moving on.
But he’s not saying what comes next, except that he plans to stay in Jamaica and could end up in another corporate position.
His role as managing director of Carreras Limited comes to end on January 31, 2020.
“It’s really time to move on. After 22 years, I felt that now would be a good time. That said, I am going nowhere; I am not migrating or anything, but it is time to leave the industry,” Steele told the Financial Gleaner.
“I can’t say at this time what it will be, but I think I have more to give in the corporate world, so we will see what will happen,” he said.
Steele joined Carreras in an accounting role in April 1998, rising to finance director by October 2007. He has had overseas postings and was seconded to a sister company, Carisma Marketing Services Limited, with responsibility for 24 markets in the English, French and Dutch Caribbean – Carisma and Carreras are subsidiaries of British American Tobacco Plc – and was selected to lead Carreras in 2013.
The cigarette executive is well known for his affinity for fitness, an image that seems at odds with the health risks associated with tobacco consumption. However, he says he does not view the two things as necessarily being in conflict, and was not a factor in his pending exit of the firm.
“While the product that we sell has its own limitations in terms of health risks, it is not the only product, per se, that does that – so it’s all about moderation,” he said.
“I’ve been in the industry for 22 years and I am not a smoker; and it is our stated policy that we do not target non-smokers. What we say is, if you make the choice to smoke then smoke our brands,” Steele said, adding that his fitness image had been a plus for Carreras.
“I think I’ve done enough to show that you can live a healthy lifestyle and still work within the industry,” he said.
He is adamant that whatever he does after January 31 will involve Jamaica and, most of all, his family. Were he to stay inside the BAT eco-system, Steele indicated that it could prove disruptive to family members, inclusive of his 75-year-old mother, and two children.
“Any movement at all, whether promotion or lateral move, would mean going outside of Jamaica. I indicated that family is important, with my mother whom I take care of and my two children – the boy in high school and the girl getting ready for prep school. So I am not available for going anywhere else,” Steele said.
He will be replaced at Carreras on February 1 by Trinidadian national Raoul Glynn, who currently heads the country operations for Carisma Marketing Services. Glynn will also become a member of Carreras’ board.