Ross R. Millhiser

Ross R. Millhiser

Ross R. Millhiser

Ross R. (Randolph) Millhiser was a husband, father, brother, World War II Infantry commander, prisoner of war, and businessman. He was born in Richmond, Virginia. | After graduating from Yale University in 1941, Mr. Millhiser joined Philip Morris in his native Richmond, Virginia, as a cigarette-making machine operator. He entered the Army in 1942 as a private and served subsequently in the Infantry as an intelligence staff officer and Infantry commanding officer, attaining the rank of major. | During Operation NORTHWIND, the Nazis’ last great assault to break through the Allied Forces in January 1945, he was captured behind enemy lines by the NArizonais while leading a nighttime foot reconnaissance patrol in the snow-covered, forested Vosges Mountains of Alsace-Lorraine, France. After his capture, Mr. Millhiser was a prisoner of war until being liberated in May 1945. His military decorations include the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Bronze Star, and Purple Heart, and he was inducted into the Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame. | Following his discharge in 1945, Mr. Millhiser returned to the company as an assistant foreman in Richmond, then one of the smallest U.S. tobacco companies. He gained extensive experience in all phases of operations, and was transferred to Philip Morris's New York headquarters where he was placed in charge of print media for the Philip Morris brand in the advertising department. | Millhiser was named Marlboro Brand Manager in 1954. He guided all functions of the brand - from research and concept through advertising and selling. In May 1957, he was appointed Assistant Director of Marketing and was elected a Vice President of the company in 1958. A year later, in March 1959, he assumed the post of Assistant Chief of Operations. In October 1960, he was made Director of Marketing. In November 1963, he was elected to the Board of Directors of Philip Morris Incorporated. He was appointed Executive Vice President - Marketing in 1965 before taking over as President of Philip Morris U.S.A. the following year. As head of PM USA until 1973, Mr. Millhiser managed the drive for leadership of the U.S. industry, as it moved from No. 4 ranking to No. 2. Revenues, volume, and share of the market more than doubled during his tenure as President of PM USA, and Marlboro became the second best-selling cigarette in the U.S. In 1973, Mr. Millhiser moved from Philip Morris USA to become President of Philip Morris Inc., in charge of both Philip Morris USA and Philip Morris International. Later, in 1978, he was named Vice Chairman of Philip Morris Companies, Inc. with responsibility for corporate matters. He retired from the Vice Chairman position in 1985 but continued to serve as a member of the Board of Directors until 1987. | Mr. Millhiser was a Director of Best Products Company, Inc., First and Merchants Bank, and Robertshaw Controls Co. Mr. Millhiser also shared his leadership skills with a number of non-profit institutions in Virginia. He was a Trustee of The George C. Marshall Foundation and served as Chairman of its Board of Trustees from February 1983 until December 1987. He was also a Director of the Virginia Museum Foundation, a Trustee and former Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges, and a Trustee of Washington and Lee University. | He was a member of the International Club, Washington, D.C., the Yale Club, New York City, the Commonwealth Club, Richmond, Virginia, and the Monmouth Beach (New Jersey) Bath and Tennis Club.

More Information

  • Rank

    Honorable

  • Graduated From

    Fort Benning, Georgia

  • Highest Award

    Unavailable

  • Year Inducted

    1973

  • Branch Of Service

    Infantry

  • HF ID #

    HF_00640