Former name: Philip Morris
Year changed: 2003
Cigarette giant Philip Morris changed its name to Altria Group Inc. (NYSE: MO) in 2003 on the same day that the company was cleared of responsibility in a smoking-related wrongful death case. However, the move had been in the works since 2001. Philip Morris claimed that the name change would seek to emphasize that the company sells a wide array of products in addition to the famous tobacco brand, but the move was considered a way for Philip Morris to disassociate itself from its most controversial product. An anti-tobacco group, Intact, called the plan “a PR maneuver meant to distance the corporation’s image from its deadly business practices.” The cigarette units, Philip Morris International and Philip Morris USA, kept their old names, as did Kraft Foods, then another unit of Altria.
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