As the top risk manager at Reynolds American, Susan Wilson has had plenty of risks to be concerned about. Starting in 2004, there was the integration of the second and third largest U.S. tobacco companies, R.J. Reynolds and Brown & Williamson Tobacco, to form Reynolds American. Litigation with the states and individual plaintiffs continues. Last year, Congress gave the U.S. Food and Drug Administration new regulatory authority over tobacco products. And imploding credit markets and a severe recession have socked nearly all of corporate America.
It was the merger, however, that prepped Reynolds American to deal with later events. Wilson, who had just been promoted to general auditor at R.J. Reynolds, was tasked with examining the merged company's integration risk, an analysis that took her into every nook and cranny of its business units.