Tobacco industry veteran Brian George Ace passed away on Jan. 15, aged 79, after a period of illness.
Ace worked as a supplier to the tobacco industry for almost half a century. He spent 39 years at Filtrona International (now Essentra), a cigarette filter specialist with manufacturing operations in multiple countries.
Ace was chairman and CEO of Filtrona for 10 years. As part of that role, he headed Filtrona Instruments and Automation (now Cerulean).
In addition, he was a director of Payne, a tear tape manufacturer.
On retirement from Filtrona, Ace was invited to work for Cartiera del Maglio, an Italian manufacturer of cigarette papers and plug wrap. He joined the board as a managing director in January 1998 and was chairman for 10 years.
Ace spent the last years of his professional life working as a tobacco industry consultant.
Colleagues remember Ace as a dedicated tobacco man with a clear vision and strong business ethics.
“He has been an exceptional human being with great values,” said P.T. Sreekumar, managing director, filtration products/Asia at Essentra. “His thorough commitment on quality and customer focus gave Filtrona a great foundation in the early days.”
Sreekumar described Ace as a person wedded to quality, customers and positive work practices. “The current filter business and the tobacco industry are indebted to him for his great contribution,” he said.
‘’I first met Brian in 1989 in Bangalore,” says Arun Hitkari, of Hitkari Multifilters. “Brian and I have been friends since that date and I was honored that he attended my son Arjun’s engagement party to Gayatri. I also have very fond memories of dining with him several times in Bologna when he was the president of Cartiera del Maglio.”
Blessed with a sharp intellect, Ace had little patience for frivolities, but he was always ready to share his insights with eager minds.
Doina van Tooren, a seasoned finance executive, recalls how Ace primed her for a job interview after college. Not only did Ace accurately predict the questions, he also advised her how to avoid pitfalls, helping Van Tooren kickstart a successful career.
On the personal side, Ace was awarded “The freedom of the City of London” and was a livery man of The Worshipful Company of Tobacco Pipe Makers and Tobacco Blenders. A keen bridge player, Brian competed in inner-livery competitions. He was loved and admired by a wide circle of friends from around the world.
Ace is survived by his wife, Elise Rasmussen; his children, David Jehan, Robert Jehan, Carolyn Preston, Steve Ace; step children, Courtney Rasmussen and William Rasmussen; and grandchildren, Jennifer Jehan, Melanie Jehan, Katie Preston and Amy Preston.
If you wish to share your memories of Ace, please write Tobacco Reporter.