It is a common fact in the cigar world that behind every successful cigar brand is a devoted, passionate and enthusiastic person, committed to obtaining only the finest tobacco blends. As such, one might wonder what will happen with the CAO line of cigars, now that Tim Ozgener, who worked with CAO for 16 years, has left the company. A very important man in the company, Ozgener has been the president of CAO since 2006, and the person usually associated with CAO cigars throughout the years. With Tim Ozgener now gone, no other members of the Ozgener family, who founded CAO International, remain onboard.
The reason for such decision comes as a side effect of the merger between two tobacco companies, Swedish Match and Scandinavian Tobacco. Seeing as how CAO belongs to the Scandinavian Tobacco Group, the merger resulted in CAO’s headquarters to be relocated to Richmond, Virginia. The move did not appeal to Ozgener, who decided to remain in Nashville, Tennessee. His words about this were "I'm pretty well established in Nashville. My family is here, my wife's family—I'm not willing to uproot my family. Nashville has been a great city for karma, for me and my family." Prior to the merger, CAO has been located in Nashville since 1968, when it has been founded.
Tim Ozgener’s decision stirred reactions from high-profile persons in the cigar industry. The chairman of CAO International, Gary Hyams, commends Ozgener for his dedication to the company, while the president of General Cigar, Dan Carr, acknowledges Ozgener’s innovative approach to cigar packaging and flavors, and his contributions to the CAO brand and to cigar making in general.
Ozgener considers CAO Brazilia as one of his greatest accomplishments, which was unique and innovative at the time of its release, having a Brazilian wrapper and coming in a green box packaging.
As for what the future has in store for him, Ozgener said re-entering the cigar industry is not out of the question, but for the time being, he considers focusing his attention on a Nashville bar he co-owns, The Patterson House.