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Reynolds American Inc. has found a new way to smoke the competition � or at least the plaintiffs bar. In August the Winston-Salem company announced that it had hired E. Julia Lambeth as its new executive vice president and general counsel. She started work in September. Lambeth, 55, also serves as executive vice president and general counsel of RAI subsidiary R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. Lambeth has spent 30 years in-house. In 1977 she joined E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company as an attorney, zeroing in on environmental matters. In 1992 she moved to Houston and became assistant GC at ConocoPhillips. Nine years later she was promoted to corporate secretary and deputy GC. From 2002 through 2006, Lambert led the integration planning team responsible for corporate governance following the ConocoPhillips merger. The new job brought Lambeth back to her hometown, Winston-Salem. There she’ll help lead the second-largest U.S. tobacco business. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company rolls about one of every three smokes sold in the country, including Camel, Kool, and Doral cigarettes. In April the company broadened its appeal to nicotine lovers by buying Memphis-based Conwood, a purveyor of snuff and chewing tobacco, for $3.5 billion. In July the number two cigarette maker, along with other major tobacco companies, scored a major victory when the Florida Supreme Court upheld a decision to toss out a $145 billion personal injury class action judgment against them. Lambeth took over from Charles Blixt, who retired after 21 years with the company. Life has not been dull for Blixt, however. In mid-September he was appointed interim general counsel by Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Inc. At the same time, the Winston Salem � based company announced it would delay filing its second-quarter fiscal report because it had to restate previous financial reports.

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