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KT&G CEO candidate Kyung-man Bang receives positive evaluations from major financial institutions

KT&G CEO candidate Kyung-man Bang receives positive evaluations from major financial institutions

- Morgan Stanley and Meritz Securities expect Mr. Bang's appointment to drive growth in core business areas and strengthen shareholder returns

SEOUL, South Korea, March 4, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Major financial institutions, such as Morgan Stanley and Meritz Securities have recently published analyst reports offering positive evaluations of Kyung-man Bang, KT&G's CEO candidate. His official appointment is pending approval at the upcoming Annual General Meeting of Shareholders scheduled for March 28, 2024, as per the company's recent disclosure.

Since last December, KT&G Board of Directors initiated a CEO appointment process. The Governance Committee and the CEO Candidate Recommendation Committee of the Board meticulously narrowed down the pool of CEO candidates from an initial longlist of 24 individuals to a first shortlist of 8, and to a final shortlist of 4 candidates. Ultimately, the CEO Candidate Recommendation Committee selected Kyung-man Bang, the current Chief Operating Officer and Senior Executive Vice President of KT&G as the final CEO candidate on February 22, 2024. The Governance Committee implemented open recruitment as one of the channels to form the CEO candidate pool, allowing individuals who meet the eligibility criteria to apply for the CEO position, and also accepted candidate recommendations from search firms.

KT&G Board of Directors explained that Mr. Bang is the most qualified candidate to navigate the company through market challenges and towards achieving its long-term vision of becoming a 'Global Top-tier' company, citing his extensive experience in the company's overall business operations and significant contributions in shaping the company's future vision. These qualities have also been highlighted in the recent analyst reports released by Morgan Stanley and Meritz Securities.

The Morgan Stanley report published on February 23, 2024 provides a favorable assessment of Mr. Bang's nomination as the final CEO candidate and suggests a positive outlook for investors regarding his potential appointment. The report highlights that Mr. Bang has held various management positions since joining KT&G in 1998. His extensive experience includes roles such as Managing Director of Brand Management, Executive Managing Director of Global Headquarters, and Executive Managing Director of Strategy and Planning Headquarters. According to the report, Mr. Bang's proactive engagement in investor relations activities, particularly his efforts to incorporate investors' feedback to the company's shareholder return policy, is highly esteemed.

Meritz Securities also issued an analyst report commenting that the company's long-term growth strategies and shareholder return policies would be strengthened once Mr. Bang is appointed CEO. Meritz Securities pointed out that Mr. Bang played a pivotal role in formulating the company's mid-to-long term growth strategies and shareholder return policy (2024-2026) unveiled last year. According to the report, Mr. Bang's appointment would allow for leadership committed to expanding the global market presence and driving profitability of the company's combustibles, Next Generation Product, and Health Functional Food business sectors.

KT&G faithfully executed on its three-year shareholder return policy worth KRW 2.75 trillion from 2021 to 2023, with Mr. Bang playing a crucial role in its implementation. As a result of proactive shareholder return initiatives, KT&G's stock price has surged by around 13% over the past three years while the KOSPI index has dropped by approximately 12% during the same period. Last November, KT&G announced its New Shareholder Return Policy worth KRW 2.8 trillion that is in effect from 2024 to 2026. The new shareholder return policy encompasses KRW 1.8 trillion in cash dividend and KRW 1 trillion allocated for share buyback and cancellation. In addition to immediately cancelling newly acquired shares, KT&G also plans to cancel approximately half of its existing treasury shares over the next three years, resulting in the cancellation of approximately 15% of its shares issued.

 

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