As part of its plan for major corporate restructuring, Villiger Cigars North America (VCNA) has named Rene Castaneda as its new president. The company had been without a president since it dismissed Roy MacLaren in 2014 and turned over his responsibilities to other employees within VCNA.
“It is truly an honor to have been chosen for this position at a company so rich in history,” stated Castaneda. “We plan on being an innovative company while bringing Villiger back to its roots. Our plan is to develop brands that connect with consumers while working alongside retailers and all partners, providing the best products and service.”
When asked how Castaneda plans on achieving this goal, he told Cigar Aficionado: “It will be a balancing act. We want Villiger to produce brands that this market will smoke and enjoy on a regular basis. We will do that by making cigars for true premium cigar smokers, but at the same time remaining faithful to Villiger’s tradition.”
This news comes after Villiger’s recent announcement that it would be naming “a new general manager who will guide us into this new phase of our North American entity.” Villiger confirmed that, in this context, they were indeed referring to a new president.
VCNA’s corporate restructuring includes moving its headquarters from North Carolina to Miami; dismissing a large portion of its U.S. sales force in favor of a more in-house sales strategy; ending its logistical agreement with Sutliff Tobacco Co.; and releasing new premium cigar brands to the market.
Before joining VCMA, Castaneda served as vice president of sales and marketing for Orleans Group International and before that he held the same position for Miami Cigar & Co.
In business since 1888, European company Villiger Söhne AG is best known for its dry-cured, machine-made cigars, and it sells roughly 1.5 billion of them annually. Villiger Cigars North America is its premium cigar division based in the United States, which is Villiger’s largest market for premium cigars.