Winston-Salem, N.C.-based tobacco company Reynolds American Inc. (RAI) announced Thursday that it has hired former House Speaker John Boehner to the company’s board of directors and to serve on the corporate governance, nominating and sustainability committee.
Reynolds is looking to boost sales growth as the second largest U.S. tobacco manufacturer through the introduction of new smoking technologies like e-cigarettes and vaporizers. In August, the federal government implemented new regulations, including a ban on sales to consumers under the age of 18 and a requirement that all e-cigarette makers apply with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prove their product(s) are “appropriate for the protection of public health.”
If manufacturers refuse to apply or fail to meet FDA standards, relevant merchandise will be taken off the market within the next two to three years.
Former Speaker Boehner, a Ohio Republican who was president of a plastics and packaging company before being elected to Congress in 1990, may prove valuable to Reynolds in advising the company on how to comply with the new FDA regulations.
“As RAI gains momentum in its strategy to transform the tobacco industry, we welcome (Boehner’s) fresh perspectives on our businesses and the rapidly evolving environments in which the RAI companies compete,” board chairman Thomas Wajnert said in a statment.
Mr. Boehner should be well-compensated for his work, as Reynolds’ directors made at least $300,000 in combined salary and stock benefits in 2015.
RAI is the maker of popular cigarette brands Camel and Newport, and only trails Henrico, County, Va.-based Altria Group Inc., which produces the Marlboro brand, in total U.S. tobacco sales.
Boehner, a noted smoker, retired from Congress in October 2015 after serving nearly twelve full-terms as Ohio’s eighth district representative.
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