22nd Century Group, Inc. (OTCQB:XXII) today announced that Richard M. Sanders has been appointed to the Company’s Board of Directors, effective December 9, 2013.
“We are extremely pleased that Rick is joining our Board of Directors,” said Joseph Pandolfino, Founder and CEO of 22nd Century Group. “With over 32 years of experience in the tobacco industry, Rick has tremendous knowledge of premium cigarette manufacturing, branding, sales and distribution; his experience will be a tremendous asset to 22nd Century Group as we enter the growth phase of our business both domestically and internationally.”
From January 2002 until June 2009, Mr. Sanders served as President and CEO of Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company (SFNTC), a division of Reynolds American, Inc., which manufactures and markets the Natural American Spirit cigarette brand. During his 7-year tenure as head of SFNTC, Mr. Sanders tripled Natural American Spirit’s market share and SFNTC’s operating earnings and directed the successful expansion of Natural American Spirit into international markets in Western Europe and Asia. RJ Reynolds paid $356 million for SFNTC in 2002; Bonnie Herzog of Wells Fargo Securities recently estimated SFNTC, as standalone business, to be worth $3.7 billion. Natural American Spirit, SFNTC’s sole brand, had a 1.2% share of the 2012 cigarette market in the U.S., where the vast majority of SFNTC’s sales occur.
Prior to directing SFNTC’s spectacular growth, Mr. Sanders worked for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company where he began his career as a marketing assistant in 1977. From 1987 to 2002 he served in a wide spectrum of executive positions including, among others, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Vice President of Strategic Development.
Since August 2009, Mr. Sanders has served as a General Partner of Phase One Ventures, LLC, a venture capital firm which focuses on nanotechnology and biotechnology start-up opportunities in New Mexico and surrounding states. (continued)
(continued from last) A native of Minneapolis, Mr. Sanders earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Hamline University in St. Paul and an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.
Mr. Pandolfino added, “With the addition of Mr. Sanders as 22nd Century Group’s fifth board member, our Board is once again independent, which is important to our goal of ***up-listing to a national securities exchange in 2014***.”