Report: Thatcher Gets Job with Top U.S. Tobacco Firm
LONDON (AP) _ The Philip Morris tobacco company is hiring Margaret Thatcher, a non- smoker, for $1 million to serve as its international political consultant, The Sunday Times reported.
The newspaper said Philip Morris, the world’s largest tobacco company, will seek her advice ″on controversial issues, including the penetration of tobacco markets in Eastern Europe and the Third World.″
″She will be asked to help resist attempts to ban tobacco advertising in the European Community and to fight cigarette taxes and state-run tobacco monopolies,″ The Sunday Times said.
No one from Philip Morris was immediately available for comment Sunday, said a man who answered the phone at the company’s headquarters in New York.
Murray Bring, a Philip Morris senior vice president, refused to comment on the terms of the arrangement, ″because that’s a confidential matter between us and Lady Thatcher,″ the newspaper quoted him as saying. ″But we’re all very excited at the prospect,″ he reportedly said.
According to Bring, the final details of the contract were being worked out and it will be signed shortly, the newspaper said.
The Sunday Times quoted Thatcher’s London office as saying she would act as ″an ad hoc consultant on geopolitical issues.″
Asked if Lady Thatcher had considered a backlash from the anti-smoking lobby, an unidentified spokesman said: ″I don’t think Lady Thatcher would get involved in anything that was in any way improper.″
No one at the office was available to comment.
The Sunday Times said health campaigners and some lawmakers were angered at the deal.
″I’m astonished. If her name helps Philip Morris get more children to smoke, then she will be helping to contribute to a large number of deaths,″ it quoted Professor Richard Peto of Oxford University’s school of medical statistics as saying.
Philip Morris Companies Inc., whose tobacco division makes Marlboro cigarettes, earned $3 billion last year on revenues of $56.5 billion. The conglomerate also owns Kraft General Foods and Miller Brewing.