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Success Story | 3 min read

Altria Group

December 17, 2019

Company Needs and Goals:

In 2002, Philip Morris USA, which now primarily operates under the name of its Fortune 500 parent company, Altria, decided to move its corporate headquarters from New York City. It needed a new location that would streamline business operations, increase efficiencies and deliver significant costs savings. The company was primarily considering the eastern half of the U.S. and locations that would provide new talent while accommodating the 450 employees relocating from the former headquarters. In March of 2003, Altria’s Philip Morris USA made the decision to relocate its world headquarters to the 250,000-square foot former home of Reynolds Metals Company in Henrico County, Va. It also announced it would invest $300 million into its pre-existing Richmond Manufacturing Center – which was at the time the biggest single private capital investment in the City of Richmond in 25 years.

Partnership Involvement:

The Greater Richmond Partnership (GRP) worked with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and ChamberRVA to share the values of the Richmond Region with PM USA. A written presentation sent from the Richmond partnerships preceded a meeting of Virginia state and local economic development officials at the company’s New York offices. During visits by PM USA representatives to Greater Richmond, GRP organized a tour of the former Reynolds Metals Company site and the distinctive location was irresistible.

After the announcement, GRP and the Chamber assisted with employee transition. In addition to presentations abut the quality of living in the area, a “Richmond Room” was prepared in the New York offices, which was filled with materials to introduce relocating employees to the Richmond Region before their arrival.

Why Philip Morris USA Chose Greater Richmond:

Ultimately, Altria representatives were impressed by the talented workforce, top-ranked educational systems and progressive business climate from state to local government levels. The company also reported that the relocation from New York City would save an excess of $60 million annually.

Philip Morris was originally incorporated in Richmond, Va., in 1919 and built its first Richmond manufacturing operation in 1926, so the area was familiar to PM prior to the relocation. A workforce of 6,800 employees was already in the Richmond area.

The quality of life, low cost of living, diversity, housing costs, variety of cultural and recreational opportunities, short commutes, and welcoming reception from residents and the business community in Greater Richmond supported employee attraction and retention at all levels of the company.

The operation was so successful, the company consolidated its operations from N.C. to Richmond, and Altria later moved the parent company headquarters from New York City to Greater Richmond as well. A year later, Altria established a 450,000-square foot, $350 million Center for Research and Technology in downtown Richmond’s VA Bio+Tech Park, which employs approximately 600 scientists, engineers, and support staff.

About Philip Morris USA:

Philip Morris USA is the U.S tobacco division of Altria Group, Inc. Philip Morris USA is the leading manufacturer of cigarettes in the U.S. today. PM USA brands include Marlboro, Basic, Benson & Hedges, Cambridge, chesterfield, Commander, Dave’s, English Ovals, L&M, Lark, Merit, Parliament, Players, Saratoga, and Virginia Slims. The company has its headquarters, manufacturing, and processing and support facilities in Greater Richmond, Va.; sales offices across the U.S.; and an office in The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

About the Greater Richmond Partnership, Inc.:

The Greater Richmond Partnership, Inc. (GRP) is the lead regional public-private economic development organization for the City of Richmond and counties of Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico in Virginia. GRP recruits companies from all over the globe which provide employment opportunities and taxable capital investment for the community. For more information, visit