Matt Holman, director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) Office of Science, is leaving the agency to join Philip Morris International effective immediately, reports The Hill, citing a memo from CTP Director Brian King. Holman has been director since 2017.
“I know that he led the Office through a critical time, including preparing for and overseeing review for the bolus of PMTA [premarket tobacco product application] applications,” King said in the memo. “I’m grateful to Matt for his contributions to the Center and unwavering commitment to you all over the years, and I wish him well in his next chapter.”
Holman’s departure comes after Mitch Zeller, the longtime CTP head, retired in April. King was appointed director earlier this month.
According to King’s memo, Holman has been on leave and has recused himself from all CTP and FDA work while exploring career opportunities outside government.
While free to pursue employment outside of the government, FDA employees are required to immediately disclose that they are exploring opportunities outside the government.
In March, the FDA signed off on a third-generation version of PMI’s IQOS heat-not-burn product, which was first authorized for sale in 2019. In 2020, FDA authorized it as a Modified Risk Tobacco Product, allowing the company to legally claim that fully switching from regular cigarettes to IQOS can reduce a person’s exposure to harmful chemicals.
Holman leaves the CTP as the agency faces series of major tobacco-related decisions, including a potential ban on menthol cigarettes, lowering nicotine levels, and the next step in its ongoing attempt to regulate Juul and other electronic cigarettes.
A spokesperson for Philip Morris said Holman “is committed to helping existing adult smokers access scientifically substantiated smoke-free alternatives while protecting youth. We are looking forward to him joining our team as we continue to pursue a smoke free future.”