Writing in the U.K. newspaper the Guardian, Simon Bowers noted the comment from British Conservative Party leadership hopeful Kenneth Clarke, who chairs British American Tobacco's corporate social responsibility committee, that BAT has "become more controversial since I went on the board." Bowers contacted BAT, asking if Clarke's view was shared by the board as a whole. "What Ken said was not meant in any particularly negative way. It was a comment on the public perception of BAT," they told him. As to whether the company had become more controversial during Clarke's eight years on the board, the spokeswoman was insistent. "No, certainly not," she said. Two years ago, at BAT's annual general meeting, Clarke was asked about BAT's doing business in Burma. He admitted it was "not one of the most attractive governments in the world."
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