Geoffrey Bible: Australian-born Geoffrey Bible became the Chief Executive Officer of Philip Morris, the world’s largest tobacco company, in November 1997. Bible is a veteran of Philip Morris, where he had worked as an accountant for nearly three decades.
Florida v. American Tobacco Co.
August 21, 1997
Ron Motley: “What percentage of the under 18 age cigarette market does Philip Morris enjoy?”
Bible: “I have no idea.”
Motley: “Have you ever asked?”
Bible: “No, I’ve never asked.”
Motley: “Do you know that it’s over 50 percent?”
Bible: “No, I don’t. But I think it would be fair to say that if there are young people who smoke, since Philip Morris has about 50 percent of the market, that probably we have 50 percent of the cigarettes that young people smoke.”
Motley: “Well, in fact, do you know that you have over two-thirds of the youth market?”
Bible: “No, I don’t, and I don’t know how anybody could establish that.”
Motley: “Have you asked anyone to tell you what percent of the youth market that Philip Morris has?”
Bible: “No, I never have.”
Motley: “Are you aware that in 1976 Philip Morris executives issued a report called `Why People Start to Smoke’ and then discuss children from the age of ten to the age of 18 and why they start smoking?”
Bible: “No, I’m not aware of that. It doesn’t sound sinister to me.”
Q. Mr. Bible, would you state your current position with Philip Morris?
A. Yes, I’m Chief Executive Office and Chairman of the Board of Philip Morris Companies.
Q. In common parlance, that means you’re the #1 guy?
A. That would be right.
Q. Sir, do you remember making a speech on Thurs–on Wednesday, April 24, 1996 to approximately 2,000 Philip Morris employees?
A. Not specifically, no.
Q. Do you recall a board meeting of uh, of uh, excuse me, a shareholder’s meeting that was to be held on–in April 1996 in Richmond, VA?
A. Yes, that’s when we had our annual stockholders, meeting, uh-huh.
Q. Don’t you remember, sir, gathering about 2,000 employees of Philip Morris in Richmond, VA…?
Q. And making a speech?
A. That rings a bell now, yes.
Q. And do you recall there was a newspaper article about that speech?
A. I don’t specifically recall it, but I guess there would have been, yeah.
Q. Yes and do you recall that you compared Philip Morris and the cigarette manufacturers as the Allies in World War II?
A. I don’t recall that specific statement, but it could have been said.
Q. Do you recall likening Philip Morris and the cigarette industry to Winston Churchill and President Roosevelt of the United States?
A. I don’t recall saying that, no.
Q. Do you recall describing anti-tobacco uh advocates as the uh Germans and bad guys in World War II?
A. No, I never said that.
Q. You never said that?
A. Not to my knowledge, no.
Q. You did not, then compare the cigarette as the Allies and the anti-tobacco, public health advocates as Germans?
A. No, I don’t remember saying that at all.
Q. Did you recall assuring the 2,000 or so Philip Morris employees that Philip Morris would eventually win over the public health advocates in the cigarette battle?
A. I don’t remember saying the public health advocates. I could have–I don’t remember saying that, but I could imagine myself having said that we would win the battle.
Q. Win the battle?
Q. And the battle is between the cigarette industry and the public health community?
A. No, I think I would say those people who are anti-tobacco, generally.
Q. That would include the Surgeon General of the United States?
A. Could [unintelligible].
Q. It could. Are you familiar with the Tobacco Institute’s enemies list?
Q. Do you, sir, personally consider the Parent Teachers Association of the United States as an enemy of Philip Morris?
Q. What about the Mormon church?
A. No, I certainly wouldn’t.
Q. What about the American Cancer Society?
A. No, I would not.
Q. The American Heart Association?
A. No, I wouldn’t say they’re enemies.
Q. Do you recall that a verbatim record of your speech to your employees was recorded and turned over to the Richmond Times Dispatch on or about April 24, 1996?
Q. Do you recall making comments, sir about 30 past and present Philip Morris employees having been warned that they were subjects of a grand jury criminal investigation?
Q. You don’t recall making comments about that?
A. No, I don’t. I do know that some people were uh called to grand jury, but I don’t remember making any comments about it, no.
Q. Do you recall making the precise statement that “You vowed, you, Jeffrey Bible, vowed not to “sit silently as secret research materials are leaked to the media?”
A. That rings a bell, yes.
Q. Have you ever heard of the Committee of Counsel?
Q. Are you, are you familiar with the name Henry Ramm, R-A-M-M?
A. No, never heard the name.
Q. Have you seen a document produced by Philip Morris dated October 1964 in which some British scientist described the Committee of Counsel as an organization of lawyers who ran the entire United States cigarette industry, from public relations to marketing to litigation to legislation?
A. No, I’ve never heard of that or seen, nor have I heard of the Committee of Counsel, so…
Q. So, If there is a Secret Six, it was kept secret from you?
A. Well, the [unintelligible] in ’64, is that what you said?