(3rd LD) KTandG’s new CEO vows to boost corporate value, build trust with shareholders

The new chief executive of KTandG Corp., South Korea's dominant cigarette maker, on Thursday pledged to boost the company's valuation and build a strong foundation of trust with shareholders. Bang Kyung-man, who has served in various capacities at KTandG since 1998, made the remarks as he was appointed after shareholders endorsed his nomination at an annual meeting earlier in the day. It marked KTandG's first leadership change in nine years. "We will also put in our best effort to enhance corporate value and to establish a strong foundation of trust with stakeholders by sharing our profits with various stakeholders," Bang said. Bang said he will put top priority on increasing sales in three areas -- overseas sales of commercial tobacco, e-cigarettes and health food. In a statement, KTandG described Bang as an executive "for taking a leading role in formulating and executing the best-in-class shareholder return policy, thus enhancing both corporate and shareholder values." Shareholders of KTandG also appr oved former judge Sohn Dong-hwan as a new board member. Bang garnered 84.09 million votes, and Sohn received 56.6 million votes at the meeting. The state-run Industrial Bank of Korea (IBK), which held a 7.11 percent stake in KTandG as of the end of last year, had opposed Bang's nomination, citing falling profitability and dubious business practices during Bang's tenure as a board member. The National Pension Fund (NPF), which holds a 6.64 percent stake in KTandG, however, had decided to vote in favor of Bang. Additionally, both IBK and the NPF had thrown their support behind Sohn as the new outside director of the cigarette maker. Source: Yonhap News Agency