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Michael A. Miles

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Michael A. Miles Obituary
Miles, Michael A. Former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Philip Morris Inc., died Sunday at his home in Lake Forest, IL. He had been in declining health over the past several months. Miles was a renowned consumer marketer, who engineered a turnaround at KFC and led Kraft, Inc. before its merger with Philip Morris. He made the decisive price reductions to reverse share losses to generic cigarettes on what became known as "Marlboro Friday." Michael A. Miles was born on June 22, 1939 in Washington, D.C. He graduated from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism in 1961 and immediately joined Leo Burnett, the Chicago advertising agency. He was hired away by client Kentucky Fried Chicken as vice president of marketing in 1971 and held a number of roles at parent company Heublein, Inc. before returning to KFC as president in 1977. There he orchestrated a turnaround of the struggling chain, rebuilding relations with founder Colonel Harlan Sanders and restoring trust with franchisees. KFC regained its momentum and today is the world's leading chicken restaurant chain. In 1983, he joined Dart and Kraft in Chicago and was president of Kraft when it was acquired by Philip Morris in 1988, at the time the biggest m&a deal ever. He became Chairman and CEO of Philip Morris in 1991, the first leader of the company who was a non-smoker. At the time many consumer brands were losing share to private label products in a recessionary economy. On April 2, 1993, Philip Morris announced a price cut of 20% on Marlboro cigarettes, at that time ranked as one of the world's most valuable brands, to stem share losses. Shares of Philip Morris and other consumer goods companies tumbled on "Marlboro Friday" as observers feared for the future of big consumer brands. Miles determination to reverse the share losses paid off and over the intervening 20 years, those same brands have become even more popular globally. Miles was renowned for his marketing savvy and his ability to recognize and develop talent. A 2004 Harvard Business Review article detailed the management development approach he implemented at Kraft and the leaders it produced, including the CEOs of Kraft, Gillette, Campbell Soup, Quaker Oats, Mattel, Young & Rubicam, and Hershey. Following his 1994 retirement from Philip Morris he served as a director on a number of corporate boards, including Dell Computer, Time-Warner, Sears, Allstate, American Airlines, and Morgan Stanley. He was active with Junior Achievement and a Trustee of Northwestern University. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Pamela; his sister, Margaret; two sons; and five grandsons. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent to either The Salvation Army or Junior Achievement USA. Info Wenban Funeral Home, Lake Forest, IL www.wenbanfh.com or (847)234-0022.
Published in a Chicago Tribune Media Group Publication from Dec. 12 to Dec. 18, 2013
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