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Interview with Tim Ozgener, President of CAO International

    February 18th, 2010

 

By Bob Tate

tim-ozgener

We’ve been intrigued with rumors circulating around the pipe community that CAO might become the new distributor of Dunhill pipe tobaccos in the USA. There have been comments that CAO would increase its presence in the pipe tobacco business in 2010, rumors of new tobaccos, possibly bringing back the old CAO tobaccos, CAO meerschaum pipes and possible Dunhill distribution.

We had a great conversation with Tim Ozenger, President of CAO International (he’s a very friendly and accommodating chap). We talked about the aforementioned rumors and a few other things. Find out which rumors are true and which are not. So without further ado, here is our conversation with Tim:

PipesMagazine (PM): Tim, at the beginning of 2009, there were a lot of rumors that CAO was getting out of the tobacco pipe industry. Is it true that CAO made the decision to no longer be involved in the pipe industry or was it more related to Scandinavian Tobacco Group merging with CAO and there being a switch from Dan Tobacco to Scandinavian Tobacco Group?

Tim Ozgener: Well, Scandinavian Tobacco Group acquired CAO and in the acquisition they stated that they were in the cigar business and were not interested in pipes, although they are the largest producer of pipe tobacco in the world. So pipe smoking is still of interest to them, but they wanted us to focus more on cigars and pipe tobacco in the future instead of pipes. My father retired from the business, but still has some pretty tight relationships with some of the more important carvers in Turkey and he continues to purchase pipes from these carvers in Turkey. It was just made clear that that was not a part of CAO and more of, a kind of, personal decision. So my father has continued to receive pipes from these carvers. Read the rest of this entry »