SS December 2015

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24 SMOKESHOP December 2015 KLAFTERS_SS June12 5/14/12 10:13 AM Page 1 family will now oversee distribution of the A.J. Fernandez Cigar brand from a new center in Hialeah, Fla., formerly handled by Sunrise Palm Distributors, LLC under Kachaturian's direction. To ensure a smooth tran- sition, Kachaturian will continue in day-to day-operations temporarily and shift into a consulting-based advisory role longer term. "I recognized A.J. as a tobacco prodigy when I first met him in Nicaragua 10 years ago," recalled Kachaturian. "I am proud to have worked alongside him to create the A.J. Fernandez Cigar brand." Kachaturian cited a desire to focus more energy on his family for his decision. "While Kris is no longer my business partner, he will continue to be my family and con- fidant," said Fernandez > La Palina Cigars has hired Clay Roberts as chief operating officer and co-president, and Sam Phillips as co-president. Previously, Roberts served as executive vice president for Alec Bradley Cigars, a position he held since 2014. Prior to that, he was vice president of marketing for A.J. Fernandez Cigars, having joined the firm in 2010. Roberts first entered the cigar industry in 2007 for Rocky Patel Premium Cigars, having previously been involved in location work for televi- sion commercial production. Phillips most recently served as president of Compass Box LLC, a multi- media company specializing in product and package design and communica- tions media. He previously held the position of vice president of marketing at Alec Bradley from 2010 to 2015, and prior to joining Alec Bradley served as director of marketing at Rocky Patel Premium Cigar Co., having joined the firm in 2000 (at the time called Indian Tabac) as national sales manager. > Nicopure Labs, LLC, has appointed Patricia I. Kovacevic as general counsel and chief compliance officer. With extensive U.S. and international elec- tronic cigarette and tobacco experi- ence, Kovacevic held senior legal and compliance positions at Philip Morris International, Lorillard, and ITG Brands and was instrumental in securing the first ever premarket approvals for newly regulated tobacco products by the Food and Drug Administration. Reporting to Nicopure Labs, LLC's founders, Jeffrey Stamler and Jason Del Giudice, Kovacevic assumes responsibilities for the company's global legal affairs, regulatory and compliance matters, as well as public policy engagement. Industry NEWS > Javier Estades, head of premi- um cigar manufacturer and market- er Tabacalera U.S.A., which is part of Imperial Tobacco Group, has been elected chairman of the Cigar Association of America, Inc. (CAA). The Washington, D.C.-based national trade organization of cigar manufactur- ers, importers, distributors, and major suppliers to the industry was first estab- lished in New York City in 1937 as Cigar Manufacturers of America, but its roots date to predecessor organizations prior to 1900. Estades oversees Imperial's Fort Lauderdale- based premium cigar division of Altadis U.S.A. and is also responsible for the North Carolina-based cigar wholesal- er and retailer 800-JR Cigar and its affiliates. He joined Imperial Tobacco's premium cigar operation, Altadis U.S.A., in 2011, having previously served in other capacities for Imperial. Prior to joining Imperial Tobacco, Estades worked with consumer goods companies HJ Heinz and Bristol Myers-Squibb. > Kris Kachaturian, former managing partner of EstelĂ­, Nicaragua-based A.J. Fernandez Cigars, has announced his retirement from the company. A.J. Fernandez and Kovacevic Kachaturian PersonnelMoves Estades Phillips

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