Andrew Whist

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

Andrew J Whist was probably the most effective -- and certainly the most devious -- of the executives operating at the interface between the tactical and strategic planning levels of the global tobacco industry. He clearly had a talent for the dissemination of disinformation, and an expertise in political lobbying and scientific corruption.

He was a Norwegian, and his original name was Ulf Andreas Whist. However this was also the name of a notorious Nazi collaborator during the second world war, so he discarded it at a later date and began using the name Andrew Whist when he first arrived in Australia and began working for Philip Morris. At a later stage, when moving to the Philip Morris headquarters in New York, he 'Americanised' his name by adding an initial 'J' which he boasted, was following the trend set by President Harry S Truman, in having a middle initial, but no middle name.

His reputation was built both as the Philip Morris strategist in Australia where he led the tobacco industry's fight-back campaigns until December 1980 [1] and later as VP and Executive Vice President of Philip Morris International, operating on a global scale out of the company's New York Corporate Affairs offices where he clearly became to lead the American tobacco industry as a whole.

Whist and his team in PMI's Corporate Affairs office were the main tobacco industry strategists who had decades of success in delaying and defeating public smoking regulations until June 1998. He was deposed in the case of the State of Oklahoma vs RJ Reynolds Tobacco (in effect, the tobacco industry as a whole), and forced to admit that much of his activities was surrepticious and devious. [2]

In the process, he lied extensively (although this was relatively unprovable until the tobacco industry documents were released online), so Geoff Bible decided to retire him and move him out of the jurisdiction of the American courts. Philip Morris then "loaned" him out to the then Australian Liberal government (nominally as an "executive exchange" with Australian Telecom). His job was help privatise Australia's national telephone company Telstra. [1][2]. He retired from Philip Morris on May 1, 1999.

Andrew Whist (Doc Index)
Andrew Whist's deposition
New York Society for International Affairs
American-European Community Association
Institute for International Health & Development
Hungarian-American Chamber of Commerce
Spain-US Chamber of Commerce Inc
US-Spain Council

Brief biography

For most of his life Whist worked in an in-house public relations practitioner. His first job after arriving in Australia from Scandinavia was as a 'Hush-Puppy' shoe salesman (a popular style of casual loafers). However he had contacts who supported his joining the Melbourne Club (the haunt of local apparatchiks, PR people and conservative politicians) and he was then poached as a line manager for Marlboro cigarettes. At Philip Morris Australia he was quickly elevated to in-house PR and lobbying work and then became assistant to the general manager.

Australia was one of the first countries where the political trends turned first against tobacco; this was especially notable in Western Australia where the State government banned the advertising of cigarettes. This state had one of the highest rates of lung cancer in the world. Whist was seen by the industry as the strategist who held the line in the eastern Australian states against the potential contagion of advertising restrictions, and he did this partly by his close association with Rupert Murdoch who was actively political in the Liberal party and keen to retain advertising of these products.

Later, when Australians rose to the top position at Philip Morris International, Whist was transferred to New York and became head of Corporate Affairs. Since Philip Morris International led the tobacco industry's defensive actions on the whole, Whist had extraordinary influence over maintaining tobacco sales worldwide.[citation needed]

He was given a relative free hand at Philip Morris International by its English CEO and President, Hamish Maxwell and by the three Australian executives who were his immediate superiors for most of this time: R. William "Bill" Murray, Geoffrey C. Bible and William H. Webb. He was also a close friend of a number of other Australians who operated globally out of New York: John Dollisson, a fellow Scandinavian who had run the Tobacco Institute of Australia; Philip Francis the ex-Australian Corporate PR for the company; and Eric Windholz a Melbourne lawyer who operated as in-house Counsel. They mainly concentrated on Australia, Asia and on Asian Whitecoats recruitment. Bryan C. Simpson, who ran INFOTAB (the International Tobacco Information group in London and Brussels) was originally from the Herald & Weekly Times (the newspaper of Rupert Murdoch's father)


Whist was born in Norway but migrated to Australia as a youth. He became a 'real Aussie' with very little accent and Anglicized his name Ulf Andreas Whist, to Andrew. Later he Americanized it with a middle-initial "J" (which meant nothing), but copied President Truman's precedence when he arrive in the USA. [3]

Geoff Bible ran Philip Morris Australia briefly in the late 1970s, and Whist would have been one of his right-hand men since he had joined Philip Morris Australia in April 1968. His recruitment appears to have been at the express request of Hamish Maxwell who was in charge of PM International and visited Australia at this time (Australia was the company's first International branch effort). He joined PM as a brand manager but quickly rose to take the role of Head of Public Relations and assistant to the managing director.[citation needed]

Tobacco history highlites

  • 1968 April: He joined PM Australia as brand manager and then as the head of public relations (which included the Smoking & Health project), and quickly rose to become deputy to the Managing Director.
  • 1969: He proposed that the Australian tobacco industry fund a film on the Scandinavian Cederlof-Friberg twin studies (which purport to show no health effects from smoking). In July he persuades the two Swedish scientists to come to Australia on the promise of an honorary doctorates which would be presented to them by the University of Melbourne. They were encouraged to make the long trip by being given a leisurely media tour around the country; a flight with a stop-over in Tahiti; the promise that they would be in the company of Qantas hostesses; and finally a cruise liner to take them from Puerto Rico back to Stockholm.
  • 1970: He is the driving force behind the establishment of the Tobacco Research Foundation, which is used as a carrot to keep some scientists quiet. In this and the following few years he has a regular flow of 'independent' scientists flying out to Australia and New Zealand on media tours - they all work for the tobacco industry.
  • 1972: The Australian Labor Party, led by Gough Whitlam, forms government. It has a policy of restricting tobacco advertising, and intends to take other health-related measures.
  • 1975: He is involved along with John Dollisson in the events leading up to the November 1975 dismissal of the Whitlam Labor Government, and develops close links with both state and federal Liberal politicians.
  • 1978: He is still running his tours of scientists around Australia, and he now has close contacts with Bryan Simpson of Rupert Murdoch's News Limited group.[3][4]
  • 1978 Oct: The ICOSI team invited him to help them undermine the (June 1979) Stockholm World Conference on Smoking & Health "because of his combat experience". They are also impressed with his friend Bryan Simpson (who later becomes Secretary General of the revamped ICOSI called INFOTAB).[5] At this time he is listed as Assistant to the Managing Director, and Director of Corporate Affairs in Australia.
  • 1980 Jan: He runs a "Freedom to Advertise" conference in Surfer's Paradise, Queensland with Rupert Murdoch and Bryan Simpson as speakers.
  • 1981 Jan: a new Japanese study known as [Hirayama] shows that non-smoking wives of smoking men are more likely to get lung cancer than normal. Overnight the emphasis is on environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). INFOTAB is created from the remnants of ICOSI , and Whist is put in control of the Social Acceptability Working Party (SAWP) which tries to find a counter for the public-smoking problem.
  • 1982: His old friend Bryan Simpson is given the job of Secretary-General of INFOTAB. He and Whist now hold the two key positions in directing the international tobacco industry fight-back. The Freedom to Advertise campaign is running full-bore, and European Court of Justice/ WHO strategy papers are being distributed. Whist arranges for Geoff Bible (briefly running PM Australia) to meet Rupert Murdoch's right hand man, Ken Cowley. (News Ltd was then still Australian-based)
  • 1983-4: Whist was dealing with Surrey & Morse, the law firm of David Morse, which had in its employ (so it claimed) the Associate Director General of the World Health Organisation, Warren W. Furth - an old Geneva friend of Bible, Murray and Morse.
Whist is forced to answer questions about bribery in Venezuela, and he is actively running the fake organisations AECA, NYSIA and Libertad; recruiting top UN officials like Francis Blanchard of the ILO; and funding international smoker's organisations like FOREST (UK) to conduct tours of Canada, and elsewhere.
  • 1985 Jan: Whist is now the Senior VP External Affairs with PM International, but he is under such pressure that they bring another Australian to New York, Philip Francis who had replaced Whist in Melbourne.
Dec: in a report to PM's directors giving a quick precise of his divisions actions over the year, Whist writes:[6]

This has been an emergent year for Philip Morris International Corporate Affairs, for two basic reasons. First, the issues we face -- taxation, marketing restrictions, environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) -- are now literally world-wide problems, and the anti-smoking groups use sophisticated tactics to attack us on these issues throughout the world.

  • 1988 July: he was moved from control of PM International in New York to the domestic company PM USA as Senior Vice President for Legislative Relations (Corporate Affairs), under Ehud Houminer but he retains responsibility for NYSIA, AECA and other fake international trade promotion associations. This change seems to be more for show in dealing with domestic tobacco politics, than for any real change in function.
  • 1990: He takes the key tactical position in implementing the Boca Raton Action Plan, under the control of Geoff Bible. He is now officially back at PM International as Senior VP for External Affairs.
Whist also accompanied Governor Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin (the future Bush Admin. Sec for Health and Human Services) to South Africa and Zimbarbwe. He later wrote a thank-you note saying: "I value your loyalty and friendship and look forward to sharing many more great meals and exchanging many more unbelievable stories with you in the future . . . I eagerly anticipate our next adventure together—maybe it will be Australia."
Wisconsin had projected a tax increase on cigarettes to $1.00, but Governor Thompson tried to lower the tax to a nickel. [7] Overall, it is known via official filings that Thompson accepted at least $20,000 from Philip Morris over a few years (They spent $1 million in lobbying fees in his state in 1996).[8]
  • 1996 June: Governor Thompson gets his wish. Whist and three other Philip Morris staff take Governors Arne Carlson of Minnesota and Thompson on an all-expenses paid and no-money-spared 8-day junket to Australia, with scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef. These trips were supposedly funded by the AECA and the NYSIA.
  • 1997: Minnesota lawyers Brian Bates and Michael Ravnitzky file a complaint over the illegal junket ("prohibited gifts from a lobbyist"), and Whist has to admit in the Wall Street Journal that the NYSIA office is "a chair in my apartment." [9]State of Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board, Minutes, November 21, 1997.</ref>
  • 1998: The Master Settlement Agreement is signed by Geoff Bible on behalf of the tobacco industry, and millions of tobacco company documents start to be release on-line. The Australians at the top of the Philip Morris hierarchy bail out and take retirement. Whist realises that he will be constantly called up as a witness in court cases and government inquiries.
  • 1999 May 12: His friends hold a farewell Party for him in New York. He has been lent to Australia's part-privatised telecommunications monopoly, Telstra, as a trial for an executive exchange scheme. His job was to help persuade the Australian politicians to fully privatise the company. Geoff Bible conducted the negotiations.

In answer to a question in the Australian parliament, the 'Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Peter McGauran, stated that "As part of a fact-finding mission in 1998, Telstra met with Phillip Morris representatives to seek information on public affairs organisational structure and processes." As a result of this, McGauran informed the House of Representatives that between February and July 1999 Whist had been "engaged" to "provide advice and his views to the Telstra management of the day on matters related to organisational structure, processes and resources in the company's public affairs area."[10] [The tobacco documents show that this was not the case.]

  • 2000: Retired in Melbourne (it is said), but in fact he returned to live in New York.

Articles and Resources


  1. Geoffrey C. Bible, Philip Morris No title Letter. December 10, 1998. 2 pp. Bates No. 2072706123/6124
  2. Commonwealth of Australia, Official Committee Hansard (transcript), Senate Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Legislation Committee ECITA Committee Meeting Monday, May 24, 2004, May 24, 2004. 189 pp, starting at page 71 (PDF page 75)
  3. A. Whist, "Letter to Mr R. Murray", Bates Number 2024270900, April 6, 1978.
  4. Cartoon, Daily Mirror (Sydney), April 5, 1978.
  5. J.M. Hartogh, Letter to Andrew Whist, Bates Number 2501015574, October 19, 1978.
  6. Andrew Whist, "Philip Morris International Corporate Affairs" Bates Number 2025431401, December 17, 1986, page 1.
  7. Steve Schultze and Daniel Bich, "Free Thompson trips have risen sharply: Value of ‘95-‘96 travel nearly four times higher than all previous journeys", Milwaukee Journal Sentinel , August 7, 1997.
  8. Fred M. Monardi and Stanton A. Glantz, "Tobacco Industry Political Activity and Tobacco Control Policy Making in Wisconsin: 1983-1998", Tobacco Control Policy Making: United States, Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, 1998.
  9. John H. Cushman Jr., "Corporate Gifts Open Door to Governors' Inner Sanctum. New York Times, May 17, 1997. (A summary of this article is here.
  10. Peter McGauran, "Telstra:Public Relations", House of Representatives Hansard, February 13, 2003, page 11945.

Andrew Whist served as Senior Vice President of External Affairs for Philip Morris, Inc. in 1986 and again from 1992 to 1993. (Source: Philip Morris Summary - PMI Liability Notebook) Mr. Whist worked for Philip Morris International Corporate Affairs. (PMI's Introduction to Privilege Log and Glossary of Names, Estate of Burl Butler v. PMI, et al, April 19, 1996)===Related SourceWatch

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