Philip Morris announced
yesterday that tennis star Billie Jean King has been elected to its board of directors.
relationship with Philip Morris began in 1970 when the company
formed the Virginia Slims Tennis Tour. "We look forward to the
unique perspective that she will bring to Philip Morris," said
Geoffrey Bible, chairman and chief executive.
Business Wire, (8/25/99) "Billie Jean King Elected to Board of Directors of Philip Morris
[Full Text: http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/990825/ny_philip__2.html]
AP, (8/25/99) "Cigarette Co. Names King to Board"
SENDING THE WRONG MESSAGE -- Tennis great Billie Jean King has been elected
to sit on Philip Morris' board of directors. Ms. King's relationship with
the tobacco giant goes back 30 years, when Philip Morris formed the Virginia
Slims Tennis Tour, and is unapologetic of her loyalty to Philip Morris (see
News Summaries). Without Philip Morris, King argues, women's tennis would
not be where it is today.
The decision by Ms. King, a role model to many girls and women, to support
the world's largest cigarette maker, stands in stark contrast to the US
Women's Soccer Team. The US Women's Soccer Team has taken an active role in
persuading young women, and young men, from taking up smoking. They appear
in tobacco control advertisements, and speak to youngsters about the
importance of staying smoke-free. The soccer players pass on the message: if
you want to play sports, and you want to succeed, don't smoke. It's
unfortunate that Billie Jean King is not passing on a similar message to
young tennis players.
[Tac's note: Michael Chang is also receiving funds from Philip Morris,
because of his high profile both within the Asian-American community as well
as the Asian community.]