Lorillard (NYSE: LO) has hired one of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's own to help the tobacco giant comply with federal tobacco regulation.

Neil Wilcox, a former FDA science policy analyst, has been named Lorillard's senior vice president and chief compliance officer, a new position for the Greensboro, North Carolina-based company. Lorillard is the third-largest cigarette manufacturer in the United States and the market leader in menthol cigarettes with an estimated 35 percent market share.

Lorillard said that Wilcox will oversee and manage regulatory affairs that include compliance with the federal Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. The hire of Wilcox comes as menthol cigarettes are expected to come under stricter FDA scrutiny. An FDA panel in March recommended a banning of all menthol cigarettes and said in part that removing menthol cigarettes from the marketplace "would benefit public health in the United States."

The panel's recommendation is advisory and the agency is under no obligation to formally adopt recommendations. But even if the FDA doesn't ban menthol outright, it could impose stricter rules on the cigarette flavoring. The FDA was expected to comment on the panel's findings in 90 days, which means the agency could say something on the matter sometime this month.

Wilcox spent 13 years as a science and regulatory expert at the FDA, most recently as science policy analyst in the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. He has also worked at The Gillette Company as director of global regulatory affairs and as vice president of global regulatory and scientific affairs at the Kimberly Clark Corporation (NYSE: KMB). Lorillard said that at both companies he developed and implemented plans to achieve global regulatory compliance for a variety of products.

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