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Hardy Cronje started in the Tobacco industry as a Learner Tobacco Buyer, with the Tobacco Export Corporation of Africa Zimbabwe in 1973. When he joined United Tobacco Company in 1985 as a Leaf Buyer he already had extensive knowledge and expertise in all aspects of the Tobacco business from Tobacco cultivation, buying, processing to marketing and sales.

He became a member of the BAT board when appointed to the position of Leaf/Product Director.  In 1995, he served on the South African Tobacco Board as a Director and later as a Deputy Chairman until 2000.

Since 2000, he has been an independent consultant within the Tobacco industry.