Integrated report

Messages from Outside Directors

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Main Kohda Independent Outside Director
Main Kohda
Independent Outside Director

I will do my utmost to help JT win better understanding among our stakeholders.

I have long held a very positive evaluation of the JT Group as an organization that is highly aware of its own need for self-transformation. I particularly value its commitment to carefully and comprehensively designing initiatives to enhance its operating model and optimizing its workforce with further growth in mind, constantly challenging itself and never being satisfied with the status quo. Under pandemic conditions these initiatives have required decisions that are far more consequential than is normally the case, but I believe that they have been the right decisions for cultivating the mid- to long-term growth of the Group.

In terms of sustainability, the JT Group maintains an ambitious approach relative to the industry as a whole, and I expect it will follow through on those initiatives to steadily achieve the goals set out in its sustainability strategy. As market interest in corporate ESG responsibilities rises, it is essential for us to maintain good communication with investors to foster their positive evaluation of the Group’s efforts, based on the understanding that we see sustainability as an investment rather than a cost. I will do my best to facilitate these endeavors.

Yukiko Nagashima Independent Outside Director
Yukiko Nagashima
Independent Outside Director

I am committed to supporting the JT Group to embrace the kind of organizational evolution demanded by frequent and unanticipated change.

Currently, the JT Group is conducting in-depth discussions regarding its purpose and what it wants to become in the future. Above and beyond the specific attributes of our vision, what I think is important in these kinds of discussions is how its ethos is reflected in the ways we conduct our business, and whether all employees have a sense of ownership in that. Only with that accomplished, I think, will we truly become what we want to be. While I understand that the Executive Officers are already attending to this carefully, as a director, I want to help chart our vision of the future as set out in the mid-term Business Plan, incorporating each business and in sync with the purposes of the Group.

It is also important for the Board of Directors to pursue further discussion, from a long-term perspective, on such key topics as what the Company aims to become. Concerning the assessment of the effectiveness of the Board, I can confirm that the necessary processes have been well executed, and the results are being fed back to the Board. Improving our discussions from a long-term perspective has been identified as a challenge for 2022 and beyond. I will endeavor to help enhance initiatives to support the Board in carrying forward, and improving, its work for sustainable growth of the JT Group.

Masato Kitera Independent Outside Director
Masato Kitera
Independent Outside Director

In a drastically-changing international environment, I will contribute to the sustainable development of the unique businesses that comprise the JT Group.

I vividly remember the days during my stay in Geneva, 20 years ago, when I learned about JT’s global businesses and ambitious M&A strategies. The environment surrounding JT today is very different. The global environment has changed substantially just in the past few years, with the pandemic and emerging geopolitical risks. To win the understanding of investors and other stakeholders under these circumstances, we must effectively articulate our management team’s directions for the Company, as well as our determination to pursue them, in the most supportive ways.

JT has adjusted its performance indicators for executive remuneration to better integrate its initiatives for mid- to long-term growth and to more thoroughly share our values with shareholders. This is nothing less than a strong commitment from management. The recent inclusion of non-financial indicators is especially positive, and we will ensure that our assessment framework functions as intended and remains easy for stakeholders to understand.

Tetsuya Shoji Independent Outside Director
Tetsuya Shoji
Independent Outside Director

If everything seems under control, you're not going fast enough.

I have only recently been selected as an Outside Director of the JT Group, but I understand that today’s capital market expects JT to demonstrate how it will achieve and maintain sustainable growth in a rapidly and radically changing business environment. Originally a public corporation, JT has evolved through many changes, not least of which was privatization, to become what it is today – but I believe that bolstering the confidence of the capital market necessitates that it continues to evolve and transform.

While working for Nippon Telegraph and Telephone, another formerly public corporation, I experienced major transformation as well. The mindset I adopted to handle that process is encapsulated by the quote from racing driver Mario Andretti above, describing what I believe is an ideal mindset for facing change. Based on personal experience, I believe that it is essential for a company not to settle for the status quo, but rather to constantly challenge it, or, as I like to phrase it, “to advance, lead and maintain an international perspective.”

It is vital to make a habit of continually evolving and updating both ourselves and our work. As a member of the Board, I will work with the management team to rise to the challenge of breaking free of complacence, and fostering sustainable growth and development for the Group as it continues to hone the high-quality technology and innovative expertise it has been cultivating for all these years.