Foundation for a Smokefree World looking for CEO … without mentioning that Philip Morris International created and remains the sole funder

A friend recently got this email:

Hello [redacted],

I am leading a retained executive search for an exciting CEO role for an organization that has the potential to have a big impact on our world. In case you don’t know our firm, we are one of the top 10 executive search firms the country. Our client is the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World and we would welcome the chance to connect with you by phone to discuss your interest in or your ideas of candidates or connectors for this opportunity.

About Foundation for a Smoke-Free World

The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, Inc. (FSFW or the Foundation) is a grant making private foundation committed to improving global health by reducing deaths and diseases caused by smoking, with the charitable mission of ending smoking in this generation.  

FSFW funds research, promotes innovation, and supports collaborative initiatives to accelerate progress in reducing harm and deaths from smoking. The Foundation also serves as a convener of innovators, scientists, and other stakeholders supporting the reduction of tobacco use, while helping to address the economic impact of decreased smoking rates on tobacco farmers particularly in developing economies.

The Opportunity 

FSFW is seeking a new leader who has a passion for ending smoking to guide the essential efforts of the Foundation, its team, and its work with partners around the world. The CEO’s primary responsibilities include:

  • Thought Leadership and External Relations
  • Strategic Planning
  • Fundraising  
  • Governance of the Organization
  • Upholding the Mission

The organization is based in New York City and does not require relocation but will require some travel.   FSFW has employees in the US, UK, Germany, India and Malawi.

We would welcome the chance to connect for a call. If you would like to learn more or set up a time to speak, please contact me at [redacted].

Thank you, in advance, for your help with this important recruitment.

Robin, Lauren & the Diversified Search Team

Managing Director
Diversified Search Group
[redacted email and phone number]

Diversified Search Group is a member of AltoPartners – the leading international alliance of boutique executive search and leadership consulting firms across the Americas, Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Asia Pacific.

The Foundation for a Smokefree World was founded in September 2017. While it advertises itself as independent, it was created with sole funding from the tobacco company Philip Morris International (PMI), which announced expected to continue to fund the Foundation at about $80 million a year for the next 12 years. The University of Bath website has details on the Foundation’s finances, which, as of today, are still entirely from PMI.

One would think that the guaranteed long-term funding would be something the recruiter would be bragging about rather than ignoring.

The World Health Organization has taken said this about FSFW:

This decades-long history [of tobacco industry fighting true tobacco control policies, including those in the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control] means that research and advocacy funded by tobacco companies and their front groups cannot be accepted at face value. When it comes to the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, there are a number of clear conflicts of interest involved with a tobacco company funding a purported health foundation, particularly if it promotes sale of tobacco and other products found in that company’s brand portfolio. WHO will not partner with the Foundation. Governments should not partner with the Foundation and the public health community should follow this lead.

Published by Stanton Glantz

Stanton Glantz is a retired Professor of Medicine who served on the University of California San Francisco faculty for 45 years. He conducts research on tobacco and cannabis control and cardiovascular disease/

2 thoughts on “Foundation for a Smokefree World looking for CEO … without mentioning that Philip Morris International created and remains the sole funder

  1. Another way of looking at this would be to see a tobacco company making amends by promoting a worthwhile public health initiative. The WHO comment doesn’t add up as this Foundation is not promoting tobacco products, despite groups like them erroneously referring to vaping products as “tobacco” which they are clearly not.


    1. If you read the material the blog post links to, as well as other analyses of FSFW’s activities, you will see that its behavior is similar to similar organizations that the tobacco companies have created since the 1950s to protect its interests by slowing science and fighting effective public health regulations, especially for PMI’s heated tobacco products and, to a lesser extent, e-cigarettes.


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