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Altria Group Chairman And CEO Howard Willard Contracts Coronavirus - Quick Facts

Altria Group, Inc. (MO) announced in a letter to its employees on Thursday that the company's Chairman and CEO Howard Willard III has contracted the coronavirus (COVID-19) and is taking a temporary medical leave of absence.

The company's Board of Directors determined that Vice Chairman and CFO William Gifford, Jr. will assume Willard's authority and responsibilities until he returns from his leave of absence.

Gifford has served as the company's Vice Chairman and CFO since May 17, 2018 and has been continuously employed by the company or its subsidiaries in various positions since 1994.

Meanwhile, the company said it has already notified those who were in close contact with Willard and asked them to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Separately, Altria announced the suspension of operations for the next two weeks at the Philip Morris USA Manufacturing Center in Richmond, Virginia, out of an abundance of caution after learning last night that a employee tested positive for COVID-19.

Some Middleton domestic operations will also be suspended for two weeks due to COVID-19 related supply chain constraints.

During this temporary two-week suspension of plant operations, PM USA and Middleton will pay employees their regular base wages.

Altria said it continues to follow updates from public health authorities and implementing CDC-recommended precautions including travel restrictions, remote working, and social distancing.

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