Philip Morris, the planet’s largest cigarette manufacturer, is to rebrand as Altria Group, following the growing trend of multinational corporations to adopt dissociate identities [Accenture, Consignia, Diageo, et al].

According to chairman/ceo Geoffrey Bible, the rebranding is intended to clarify the difference between the tobacco businesses – which retain the Philip Morris name – and the holding company whose stable includes Kraft Foods, Miller Brewing and a leasing operation. The new name, he claimed, would reflect the group’s “cultural development” in recent years.

The entrail-rakers, as ever, were sceptical: “I think this cosmetic change will make no difference whatever,” opined Salomon Smith Barney tobacco analyst Martin Feldman.

But Bible was unmoved by the views of Mammon, staking his faith in metaphysics: “The new name is derived from the Latin ‘Altus’ (high),” he said. “[It] reflects the corporation’s desire for its family of companies to always reach higher in striving to achieve greater financial strength and growth.”

News source: Financial Times