February 28, 2020 / 4:52 PM / in a month

Altria CEO won't get annual incentive due to souring Juul investment

(Reuters) - Altria Group Inc Chief Executive Officer Howard Willard will not receive an annual incentive award as a result of the Marlboro maker’s souring minority investment in e-cigarette company Juul Labs Inc, a regulatory filing showed on Friday.

"The Compensation Committee considered the significant impact that Altria's 2018 minority investment in Juul Labs Inc has had on shareholder value. As a result ... Willard should not receive an award under the Annual Incentive Plan for 2019," the company said bit.ly/2T70BTh.

Willard’s 2018 incentive award was $2.25 million. The company also said Willard’s base salary in 2020 would not increase from $1.25 million.

Altria valued its 35% stake in Juul at $4.2 billion as of the end of 2019, down from $12.8 billion in December 2018, as a string of vaping-related deaths, coupled with increased bans following a surge in teenage vaping, cloud the prospects of e-cigarette makers.

Willard had said in January that he was “highly disappointed in the financial performance of the Juul investment.”

U.S. regulators have also opened a probe into Altria’s investment, a source told Reuters earlier this month.

Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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