Marlboro man? Casteen to join cigarette company board

news-casteenOutgoing UVA president John Casteen has been elected to the board of directors of Altria Group, better known under its prior name, Philip Morris Companies Inc. and the maker of such well-known tobacco products as Marlboro cigarettes and Skoal.

"With his broad public and private sector experience, I know he will make significant contributions," the CEO said in a company release. Casteen's contributions couldn't save the last big company board he served. Casteen was among the final team raking in a cool $220,000 annually for their services–- only to watch, stunned and saddened, as Wachovia collapsed in 2008.

At Altria, which in 2007 announced a pledge of $20 million to the UVA medical center and $5 million to the undergraduate commerce school, Casteen will be making $240,000 a year.

At Altria, Casteen will find himself among familiar faces, as he'll be serving alongside former UVA rector Thomas Farrell, but putting Casteen on board required a change in the company by-laws, which were amended for his appointment to allow the board to grow from nine to ten members.

In recent years, some shareholders and regulators have grown concerned that running large American companies has become an entitlement to riches, and some legislators have even suggested limiting corporate pay. Such concerns don't seem to be resonating at Altria, where despite a stock price that has fallen from over $70 two years ago to just $20 today, CEO Michael Szymanczyk, who earns a $1.3 million salary and a $3 million bonus, was last month awarded $5 million worth of company stock.

Altria stock fell about one percent in the early hours of the trading day after news of Casteen's appointment was announced.

Clarification: The description of the Altria stock price as falling over two years omitted an important fact initially unknown to the reporter: Altria spun off a subsidiary into a major separate company, Philip Morris International, on March 28, 2008. Taken together, the value of the two companies has not fallen but has actually remained about the same.

–updated at 11:28am with additional details
–updated Wednesday, February 24 at 12:16pm with clarification

Read more on: altria groupJohn Casteen


Sorry guys, but you can pull up dozens of web sites with conflicting reports about how many deaths can be attributed to cancer and obesity each year.

The questions remains the same.... would people condemn Casteen if he was elected to the Board of Directors at Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream?

Feel free to replace "Ben & Jerry's" with the name of any other corporation that manufactures and distributes the foods that are causing this obesity in America.

hes making more money then you! and id do it in a heartbeat i know that. i hope they use peta members for testing. when did making money and self determination become so deplorable? its the pussification of america, cville leads the way.

WOW. This really says it all. Where is the integrity and upstanding moral character that he supposedly has as a great leader. Disgraceful.

Heh Pres. Gotta match

Casteen is not the only prominent Virginian on the board, other members include former Gov. Gerald L. Baliles, retired Washington and Lee University President Robert E.R. Huntley and Thomas F. Farrell II, chairman, president and chief executive offices of Dominion Resources Inc.

Maybe, these esteemed statesmen and academics plan to end tobacco use for the good of society--you think ? I'm sure they would tell you they are doing this for the good of our children and grandchildren, and only with men of integrity guiding these huge corporations can we improve the lot of the common man, and make sure that the elections they can now buy, are bought with the intent to better the " public good ".

Funny how it seems all the people that push for marajuana legalization are against the personal choice to smoke tobacco.

I think we'd all agree that smoking is a right and a choice, even if it is known to damage one's health. But, the question is, do you want to be a smoker or a pusher, the role Casteen and his fellow board members have chosen.

quote: "All about the benjamins Baybay!!!"

Welcome to America, version 2010.

What was he suppose to do? Go to work at Seven-Eleven for $8 an hour? Flip burgers at Burger King for $7.50 an hour? Pack up and move into a nursing home as a patient?

Or if he was like a large segment of the population in Charlottesville and Albemarle County, he could transfer his assets to family members (so as to become "poor"), and then go on welfare and food stamps. Yeah, that's the ticket! Then people would really have a reason to whine and moan! :)

I care, hopefully leaders of this stature would spend the little time they have left pushing something other than tobacco.

G bag again I was emotionally moved when I saw you had qouted me a second time. Well let's see I do like ice cream and with proper exercise and diet it should be ok. Ciggy's not so much they are bad for my skin, they stink, they are like $5 a pack ohh yea and they kill ya I think it's like eleven minutes off your life for every ciggy so. If Casteen went to work for B&J I would respect him a lot more but only if he created a uniquely UVA flavor like Hoos mint chocolate chip or maybe Hoos peanut butter and chocolate. To the rest of you thanks for caring I am glad somebody does. Yea most folks just want the loot don't care what they have to do to get it. Casteen has revealed himself with this move. God money Ill do anything for you... Bow down before the one you serve your going to get what you deserve... Think Ill head down to Chaps now Im hungry for Ice cream for some reason.

quote: "I am sure Mr Casteen could find work that pays well and does not cause cancer."

Obesity causes more disease and death in this country than cancer does. Would you object if Casteen was elected to the Board of Directors at Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream?

Obesity causes more disease and death in this country than cancer does. Would you object if Casteen was elected to the Board of Directors at Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream?
Smoking is responsible for about 400,000 deaths a year in the U.S. Estimates of mortality attributable to obesity vary and some are greatly inflated, but 100,000 might be a generous estimate.

Come on folks, who gives a hoot. I'm sure you all work for the most morally respectable businesses in the nation and money has absolutely no bearing on your decisions in life. Gimme a break...

Sorry guys, but you can pull up dozens of web sites with conflicting reports about how many deaths can be attributed to cancer and obesity each year.

Gasbag, people know how many deaths are attributable to cancer each year. It's reported as an underlying cause of death and then death counts for "malignant neoplasms" are published by the National Center for Health Statistics. The word that you want is "smoking." And having published peer-reviewed papers on methods to estimate smoking-attributable mortality, I can tell you with some confidence that approximately 400,000 deaths each year in the U.S. are attributable to smoking.

I always new he had great integrity. Maybe he can help spread cancer across the nation instead of just here at home. Go Hoos!

Quote: "hes making more money then you! and id do it in a heartbeat i know that. i hope they use peta members for testing. when did making money and self determination become so deplorable? its the pussification of america, cville leads the way."

I wonder if they'd use guys like pete for testing. If they paid him enough money, he'd probably do it in a "heartbeat" cuz he ain't no cville pussy!

West Berk;
Your logic is stunning. How could anyone assail such a quickness of wit and command of the facts...
I don't know where you obtained your statistics (a link or reference would be nice) but there are a few modifications I would like to apply to your argument (if you could call it that). Obesity in this country has reached epidemic proportions, but are you asserting that every case of morbid obesity is directly caused by the consumption on Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia? It would appear that there are many opportunities for (causes of) obesity in this country; a largely sedentary population strung out on heavily processed foods (in particular the ubiquitious high fructose corn syrup), aggressive advertising by and convenience of fast food, and a food industrial complex that shuns locally produced foods and prizes the commodification of foodstuffs, from grains to dairy and meat products.
However, smoking IS the number one cause of lung cancer, and big contributing factor to a number of others that I've previously made reference to in an above post. And smoking cessation has been shown to greatly reduce those risks to health. So, to answer your question regarding whether I would hold Mr Casteen in the same contempt if he would to sign on with a couple of old hippies selling ice cream, the answer is no.

Pete Deer

Wonder who would live longer? A guy who smokes a pack of cigarettes a day (or even a half a pack) or a guy who eats a cone of ice cream every day?

Sorry Gassy, they ain't quite the same.

I nearly had a death from second hand obesity on a DC Metro train one morning. I jumped to the side before the lady fell on me though.

" Casteen has been familiar with Altria and Mike Szymanczyk, its chairman and chief executive officer, since February 2007, when Philip Morris USA committed $25 million to the University. About $20 million of that gift was donated toward Medical School research and projects, including a smoking cessation program, according to a University press release.

Overall, Casteen has a large amount of respect for Altria’s management and the direction the company has taken with Szymanczyk, he said in an e-mail.

ââ?¬Å?This is a company committed to change and innovation,” he said. ââ?¬Å?It is also a company with deep roots in Virginia. I am honored to join the Altria board and to have the opportunity to become part of the company’s future."

reported at the in today's Cavalier Daily

Well, the respect I had for Mr. Casteen just went right out the window!

you all forget he has to buy a house now. UVA put him and his family up this whole time. He needs money to make that mortgage payment. What an awesome feeling to get paid for doing "nothing".

One more disappointment... I never thought he was a very good president

Casteen is chasin' that money, money, yeaaah-yeaaah

I wonder what the common thread between higher education and cigarettes and snuff would be? Ohh Yea Cha CHING $$$$$$!!! Classy move Casteen. All about the benjamins Baybay!!!

He learned a lot at UVA. Make money.

I love the statement he'll make "significant contributions." Go cancer! Beat people.

Three ex-wives and expensive tastes.

We have to think that Mr. Casteen really believes in what he is doing. This is the academic equivalent of a politician becoming a lobbyist. I think we can expect to see a decrease in tobacco use restrictions on many campuses in future.

Hey, Clown:
If you are referencing any of the above comments with regard to a double standard for legalizing ganja but not supporting tobbaco companies, I would like you to highlight the statement that supports that veiw. The FACT is that tobacco, when ingested or inhaled, can and will cause lung cancer, heart attacks, high blood pressure, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease, just to name a few. Marijuana does not ( In FACT, there is a considerble amount of literature available today that shows medical cannabis can be of significant benefit for nausea with chemotherapy, wasting syndrome in HIV and pain control in patients with chronic pain issues. There are no such studies supporting tobacco in that fashion. And the FACT that Mr. Casteen has accepted such a position with a patently sociopathic corporation (as well as all of the other notables of acedemia and politics from our grand commonwealth) merely demonstrates the degree of mendacity and greed to which they will eagerly lower themselves to in the pursuit of power and money. If somebody wants to smoke a cigarette, or dip some Skoal or do a bong hit, that's their business. But they have a right to know what that substance will do them. The tobacco lobby, with their long history of lies, propaganda and obfuscation, feel a bit differently about that. John Casteen, in taking this position, merely exposes himself, not as an academic in search of the truth, but as a mere shill for a large, politically powerful industry, with all the cash and perks that position can bring him.

Pete Deer

I am a member of the UVa community and I am disappointed.

From CLEAN coal at UVA to tobacco for the world. He is and was a great leader.

Thanks for qouting me gasbag I am touched. In response I would like first to say that I am a big fan of your commentary. Second I am sure Mr Casteen could find work that pays well and does not cause cancer. Thirdly I would have so much more respect for the guy if he had taken a job that did not spread cancer and disease. Even if it was digging ditches would'nt that be more respectable as well as improving the lives of others as opposed to peddling poison?

If that company offered you bunch of hypocrites 240k a year I am pretty sure you would take it. If you would not I can say without doubt you are an idiot.

Worry about yourself or start shelling out money to the people you are trying to push your phoney morals on.

Gasbag, smoking causes about 440k deaths/year (not all are cancer) in the US. Obesity kills about 300k/yr.

Scary, just heard on chn29 news-"Philip Morris, a major research partner with the University of Virginia"--isn't this what they call the revolving door ?

Does John Casteen smoke ? Would think, that would be a requirement for this job.

Man y'all stop pickin on JC he's a good ol' boy. Me n' him was outside the Ridge Mini Mart just the other day sharin a pack a Luckies and a couple tall boys, and scratchin lottery tickets together.

Man gotta make a living don't he? What's he gonna do be a English Professor? That don't pay nothin.

gasbag - moderate use of ice cream is not a detriment to your health. conversely, 2nd hand smoke can cause major health issues , even if you dont smoke. Moderate smokers are at even greater risk.

Let me know if you hear of a death from second hand obesity.

these two dont compare. if casteen really needed the money, he has other ways of making 240k. he does not have to do it here.

Oops, time to eat crow...
Sorry Berk...I would appear the amazing Gasbag should have been the target of my ire. I humbly apologize old boy.

Pete Deer