The international connections of the modern boardroom

By Laurie Bennett

May 1, 2017 at 8:22am

No corporate board better illustrates the borderless economy than that of Philip Morris.

Of the New York-based company’s 13 board members, three are Americans.

Board chairman Louis C. Camilleri is British. The board also includes Sergio Marchionne (Italian-Canadian), Jennifer Li (Chinese), Kalpana Morparia (Indian), Robert B. Polet (Dutch), Frederik Paulsen (Swedish), Jun Makihara (Japanese), Massimo Ferragamo (Italian), Werner Geissler (German). CEO Andre Calantzopoulos is Greek-Swiss.

International governance makes all the sense in the world. Philip Morris, like other tobacco companies, shifted its focus to emerging markets as anti-smoking sentiment grew in western nations. The company now has operations in South America, Europe, Asia and Africa.

Nothing prohibits American enterprises from having other nationalities in the boardroom; corporations with foreign markets would be foolish not to.

Yet while such companies are essentially stateless, they do participate in American politics.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Philip Morris subsidiary PMI Global Services spent $5.1 million last year on federal lobbying. Current lobby firms are shown at the bottom of the interactive Muckety map above.) Its former parent company, Altria Group, spent $10 million on lobbying and $2.6 million on political contributions.

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