Former Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company Executive Joins 22nd Century
22nd Century Group, a leader in tobacco harm reduction, has announced the hiring of Michael Zercher as the company’s vice president of business development.
Zercher previously headed Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company’s international business operations based in Zurich, Switzerland.
From 2003-2009, while serving as vice president and managing director of Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company International, Zercher grew the international American Spirit business from $8million to more than $100 million in annual sales.
Starting with operations in only a handful of countries outside of the United States, Zercher expanded aggressively and built a thriving international business with significant sales in more than 12 countries including Germany, Japan, France, Spain, and Switzerland.
In 2015, parent company Reynolds American, Inc. sold Santa Fe Natural’s international business to Japan Tobacco for USD $5 Billion – a value of approximately 30 times American Spirit’s annual international sales.
Despite generally declining global tobacco sales, Mr. Zercher oversaw double-digit revenue and profit growth for American Spirit cigarettes each year. At 22nd Century, Mr. Zercher will spearhead the Company’s efforts to form strategic partnerships with companies capable of widely commercialising 22nd Century’s proprietary brands. In addition, he will pursue sales of the Company’s proprietary Very Low Nicotine tobacco leaf and high nicotine tobacco leaf.
Zercher said: “I am excited to join the great team at 22nd Century and look forward to renewing the important industry relationships I built in Asia and in Europe.
“International markets are literally crying out for unique and effective ways to reduce the harm from smoking and 22nd Century controls the most disruptive technology in the tobacco industry. I believe 22nd Century is on the verge of explosive growth.”
“Mike Zercher was instrumental in building a highly profitable, rapidly-growing American Spirit sales machine across Europe and in Japan,” explained Henry Sicignano, III, chief executive officer and president at 22nd Century Group.
“To be sure, Mike’s efforts and accomplishments at Reynolds were substantiated by the $5 Billion Japan Tobacco acquisition of American Spirit’s international business. We are confident Mike will likewise achieve great things at 22nd Century.”
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