The Board of Directors of Cigar Rights of America (CRA) has elected new leaders. The Board elected Gary Pesh of Old Virginia Tobacco Company as Chairman of the Board and Karen Smith of Arturo Fuente as President. They are succeeding Robert G. Levin of Ashton who had served in both roles since 2014.
“I want to thank Rob for his dedication and extraordinary leadership over the past 7 years,” said Pesh. “With an increasing number of proposals to regulate and tax premium cigars, the need to fight for the right to enjoy a fine cigar is perhaps more important now than ever before.”
With the conclusion of his term as Chairman, Levin has also stepped down from CRA’s Board. The Board elected his son, Sathya Levin, Executive Vice President and COO of Ashton, to fill his seat. The Board also elected Cory Bappert of Oliva Cigar Company as Vice President and Drew Newman of J.C. Newman Cigar Co. as Secretary.
“It has been a privilege to represent premium cigar manufacturers, retailers, and consumers in Washington,” said Levin. “It is now time for the next generation to continue this work, and I am very proud that my son Sathya is stepping up to join CRA’s Board.”
Smith is the Vice President of Arturo Fuente. She will be leading the organization and its staff while CRA’s Board conducts a national search this summer for a new Executive Director.