Susan Ivey plans to retire early next year as CEO of tobacco maker Reynolds American, one of the state's largest publicly traded companies.
Ivey, 51, has run Reynolds since 2004, and has expanded the Winston-Salem company beyond its core market of Camel, Natural American Spirit and other cigarettes into smokeless tobacco and even nicotine replacement products.
Fortune magazine last month named Ivey No. 22 on its annual list of the most powerful women in business.
Daniel Delen, head of the company's cigarette division will replace Ivey as CEO in February. Thomas Wajnert, a Reynolds director, will replace Ivey as chairman of the board Nov. 1. Reynolds said in a statement that splitting the roles of chairman and CEO will improve corporate governance.
The company also raised its dividend and announced a two-for-one stock split next month.
Reynolds shares are up 28 percent in the past year, and jumped $1.43 in morning trading to $61.40.