Marcel Michels joins J Cortes as commercial director. The experienced cigar industry veteran comes from Royal Agio where he worked for 26 years. Michels first task was as Product & Trade Marketing Manager for France. Michels became the marketing manager for Royal Agio, and after that export manager. In 2007, after another promotion to Vice President Marketing & Sales, he became a member of the board. His last role at Royal Agio was Chief Sales Officer and member of the board. Besides Royal Agio, he was also part of the supervisory board of Primera, a chain of convenience stores all over The Netherlands. Royal Agio is a partner in the franchise concept of Primera.
Leaving Royal Agio
Michels parting ways with Royal Agio doesn’t come as a surprise. Last year, Scandinavian Tobacco Group bought Royal Agio from the Wintermans family. The Royal Agio facilities and staff are slowly merging with the structure that Scandinavian Tobacco Group has in place. But it was clear from the start that there would be people redundant. It was just a question of who would be leaving. Besides Michels, another member of the executive team, Wiljo van Maren also left Royal Agio at the end of October.
Michels is happy to join another family-owned cigar company that makes both short filler, dry-cured cigars, and premium long-fillers just like Royal Agio. J. Cortes makes cigars in Sri Lanka and Belgium but also owns the Oliva Cigar Company. Under that flag, cigars are rolling off the table in Nicaragua. “I want to bring my experience to J. Cortès to ensure that they can stay the course while navigating the heavy seas with great determination,” says Marcel Michels. CEO Frederik Vandermarlière agrees: “A clear focus and vision is the only thing that can help us weather the current storms. A strong and experienced man like Marcel is exactly what we need. He has a real passion for cigars, an enormous drive, and a heart for good team spirit. He will feel completely at home with J. Cortès”.
Michels started his new job on November 2nd. He takes over the position from Peter Struber. Struber will continue to assist Michels by analyzing the market and looking for opportunities.