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Imperial Brands Announces New Chairman

Imperial Brands PLC today announces that Thérèse Esperdy, currently Senior Independent Director, will succeed Mark Williamson as Chairman, effective 1 January 2020.

The Company announced in February that Mark would be stepping down as Chairman in anticipation of the requirements of the new UK Corporate Governance Code regarding a Chairman’s tenure on a Board.

The Board said: “Thérèse has made a significant contribution to Imperial since she became a Non-Executive Director in 2016 and the Board is delighted that she has agreed to succeed Mark as Chairman. Her international executive experience and the acute understanding she has of the business, the sector we operate in and the concerns of investors, many of whom were consulted during the recruitment process, is invaluable. Today’s announcement provides stability through the Chief Executive Officer recruitment process, which is a key priority for Thérèse.

“We would also like to thank Mark for his tremendous leadership and guidance since becoming Chairman in 2014 and for his contribution to the development of the Company since his appointment as a Non-Executive Director in 2007.”

Thérèse Esperdy said: “It is a privilege for me to step up as Chairman at Imperial, a company with a rich heritage, some great brands and tremendous people. Clearly this is a challenging time, but there are many opportunities ahead and I am looking forward to working closely with the team to drive the business forward and create value for our shareholders.”

Mark Williamson said: “I would like to thank my Board colleagues for their support during my 12 years with the Company. It has been a privilege to serve as Chairman for five of those years and I’m very pleased that the Board has unanimously chosen Thérèse to take the business forward.”

Thérèse has significant international investment banking experience having held a number of senior roles at JP Morgan including Global Chairman of JP Morgan’s Financial Institutions Group, Co-Head of Asia-Pacific Corporate & Investment Banking, Global Head of Debt Capital Markets, and Head of US Debt Capital Markets. She began her banking career at Lehman Brothers and retired from JP Morgan in 2015.

During her career in banking Thérèse worked across many different sectors, including FMCG and tobacco. She joined the Imperial Board in July 2016 and was appointed Senior Independent Non-Executive Director in May 2019. She is also a Non-Executive Director and Chairman of the Finance Committee of National Grid Plc and a Non-Executive Director of Moody's Corporation.

The appointment of Thérèse’s successor as Senior Independent Director will be announced at a later date.