The post, which is based in Bristol, is a promotion for Read, who moves from being general manager of the Netherlands market. His successor is Titus Wouda-Kuipers.
Before the Netherlands, Read worked in Australia as sales and distribution director, helping to establish Imperial Tobacco there after it acquired some Australasian brands in 1999. He replaces UK MD Graham Blashill, who has been promoted to regional director for western Europe.
Read said: “Australia was a
particularly interesting environment to work in - with obvious parallels with the UK - as Australia headed towards tighter legislation governing sales of tobacco. The UK remains a vital market for Imperial Tobacco with annual consumer expenditure on tobacco products of more than £12.5bn.
“You need powerful brands, strong trade relationships from your sales force and market intelligence to succeed.
“I am looking forward to working with, and getting to know, a new team and adding fresh initiatives to the UK market that will keep us in the number one position.”
Before working for Imperial Tobacco, Read had held sales and marketing roles at SC Johnson Wax and British American Tobacco.