Oliver Tant, Imperial Tobacco CFO

Oliver Tant has been appointed CFO at Imperial Tobacco

Imperial Tobacco has appointed Oliver Tant as its chief financial officer, replacing Bob Dyrbus, who retires on 31 December.

Tant, 52, was formerly vice chairman of KPMG, where he held a string of senior management posts and gained experience in change management, organisational restructuring and corporate finance. He steps into the role on 5 November, and will work with Dyrbus until the end of the year to ensure an orderly transition, Imperial said.

“Oliver is a great successor to Bob and I’m delighted to welcome him to the company,” said Imperial Tobacco chairman Iain Napier.

“He joins us with a proven track record of driving high performance to maximise value and has extensive corporate finance and financial management expertise. As we continue our strategic transition it’s important that we have someone of Oliver’s calibre to lead the finance team in supporting the sustainable growth of the business.”

Dyrbus, 60, announced his intention to retire in January.

Analysts Investec welcomed Tant’s appointment and re-stated a ‘buy’ recommendation on Imperial. “The appointment brings an end to an unwelcome period of uncertainty. While we don’t know Tant personally, his reputation, experience and profile all suggest that he has both the skills and clout required to help CEO Alison Cooper to steady this at times errant ship,” said Investec analyst Martin Deboo.

In August, Imperial announced plans to launch its first e-cigarette next year, a market that Nielsen has predicted will treble in size to £338m by the end of 2015.