Antonio Vencesla has been appointed as the new Corporate Affairs & Communications Director, Worldwide Duty Free at Japan Tobacco International (JTI).
The experienced and well-respected corporate affairs professional has taken over from Gemma Bateson, who took on a new role with JTI this month and has stepped down from the TFWA Board and Management Committee.
Vencesla previously held the the post of Corporate Affairs & Communications Manager at JTI WWDF based at the company’s Geneva headquarters.
He transferred to Africa in late 2015 where he worked on an assignment driving the sustainability strategy for JTI’s global supply chain operations in Malawi.
In 2016, Vencesla returned to JTI’s Geneva office where he has spent the past five years, most recently as Director of International Affairs.
In his new role, Vencesla will be responsible for amplifying messages to governments and regulators around appropriate and proportionate regulation in tobacco duty free and interpreting and communicating how new proposals will affect retailers and trade partners.
“I am excited about my return to JTI WWDF and to be part again of such a great and diverse team,” Vencesla told TRBusiness.
“Duty free and travel retail is a fascinating channel and I am looking forward to reconnecting with industry colleagues and working together towards the recovery of the business.
“The timing of the move, in the context of the pandemic, means a bigger responsibility to ensure that the business finds an optimal environment to resume once travellers are back.
“The tobacco category will continue to drive footfall to stores, probably even stronger than before, and at JTI we are working with our partners to ensure we are ready to supply our brands to adult customers as they travel again.”
Moving forward, Vencesla feels his experience in the sustainability field can add weight to JTI’s messaging.
“JTI is a fully vertically integrated business – our operations span from seed to pack – and over the last years I have learned about the different sustainability challenges faced across our supply chain and what we are doing to overcome them,” he added.
“I feel this is something we don’t communicate enough about. It’s true that we are in the early stages of our circularity journey and are working to lay the foundations that will help us minimise the environmental impact of our global operations at various stages of our value chain.
“But we may have an opportunity here to engage with an increasing number of traveling consumers that are becoming more conscious about the environment and sustainability. This is not limited to transportation, but needs to include everything about the journey, including duty free, the products available and the efforts that the brand owners are making.”