Camel Smoker John Boehner Joins Board of Reynolds American

(Bloomberg) -- One of America’s highest-profile smokers is joining the board of Reynolds American Inc., the tobacco giant that owns the Camel and Newport brands.

John Boehner, the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, was elected as a director and will start immediately, the Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based company said in a statement Thursday. Boehner has said in the past that he smokes Camels, and he’s been photographed with a cigarette dangling from his mouth.

Camel Smoker John Boehner Joins Board of Reynolds American

John Boehner

Photographer: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

Reynolds also named longtime British American Tobacco Plc executive Jean-Marc Levy to its board. The Swiss national currently serves as executive-in-residence at the IMD Business School in Lausanne.

Boehner, who left Congress last year, will help guide a company in transition. Reynolds is coping with the decline of traditional tobacco and needs new technologies, such as e-cigarettes and vaping, to help drum up growth. Reynolds ranks second to Altria Group Inc., the seller of Marlboro, in U.S. tobacco sales.

“As RAI gains momentum in its strategy to transform the tobacco industry, we welcome their fresh perspectives on our businesses,” Chairman Thomas Wajnert said in the statement.