WHEELING - Swisher International Inc., announced Monday the scheduled retirement of Tom Ryan, the company's president and chief executive officer, a position he has held since 2004.
Swisher International employs more than 1,300 people worldwide, including 900 in Jacksonville, Fla., and 125 at its Wheeling factory, 4000 Water St.
William Ziegler, chairman of the Swisher International board of directors, said upon Ryan's retirement on Dec. 31, he will be succeeded by Peter Ghiloni, the company's senior vice president of marketing.
''In the eight years that Tom has lead Swisher, he has demonstrated an amazing ability to maintain focus on the company's bottom line while ensuring the delivery of quality products, Ziegler said. ''He has also built a corporate culture of teamwork and camaraderie within the organization that is unique in business today."
Ryan began his career in the industry in 1967. He was serving as president of the Helme Tobacco Co. when it was acquired by the American Maize Products Co., which owned Swisher International Inc. in 1986.
Helme and Swisher operated separately until 1994 when the two companies merged and Ryan was named executive vice president of marketing and sales. During his tenure at Swisher the company demonstrated consistent growth, expanding facilities and product lines, increasing market share and improving financials.
''I am honored to have worked with so many talented people at Swisher through the years, Ryan said. ''Swisher is a world-class organization with highly motivated and capable individuals dedicated in their pursuit of manufacturing and marketing quality products that are the leading brands in the tobacco industry."
He added, ''I am confident that Peter Ghiloni is the right person to lead Swisher into its next phase, and build upon our past success. His leadership and industry experience will help him to drive the company to even greater results in the future."
An industry veteran, Ghiloni began his career in the tobacco business with the United States Tobacco Co. in 1972.
In 1983, he moved to the Helme Tobacco Co. as vice president of Marketing, and in 1991 he was promoted to senior vice president of Sales and Marketing. Following the merger of Swisher and Helme, Ghiloni assumed the role of senior vice president of Marketing for the combined company.
On being named president, Ghiloni said, ''I'm honored by the trust that the board has placed in me, and while no one can truly replace Tom, I look forward to taking both my industry experience and what I have learned from him and other dedicated Swisher employees to move this company forward. While our industry faces many interesting challenges, I also see great opportunity and I'm optimistic about where our team can take this company.