GENEVA, November 29, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Eddy Pirardwill succeed Thomas A. McCoy JTI (Japan Tobacco International) today announced that Thomas A. McCoy, President and Chief Executive Officer, will be retiring on 31 March 2017 and that Eddy Pirard, currently Executive Vice President, Business Development, Corporate Affairs and Corporate Communications will succeed Mr. McCoy as President and Chief Executive Officer as of April 1, 2017. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130528/617491 ) Mitsuomi Koizumi, President and CEO of Japan Tobacco (JT), parent company of JTI said: "We would like to thank Mr. McCoy for his unfaltering dedication these last three years and his tremendous contribution in making JTI the growth engine of the JT Group. Under the combined leadership of Messrs. McCoy and Pirard, JTI was able to grow the tobacco business both organically and through acquisitions as well as position itself as a major emerging products player. We are delighted to continue working with Mr. Pirard and maximize on the significant achievements to date." Eddy Pirard, 54, a Belgian national, was appointed Executive Vice President for Business Development, Corporate Affairs and Corporate Communications in 2014 following his role as Regional President for Western Europe. Mr. Pirard joined Gallaher Group Plc in January 1998. Mr. McCoy, a US citizen, was appointed President and CEO in December 2013 and Chief Operating Officer in October 2005. Following a number of senior positions in RJ Reynolds, he played an important role in helping lay the foundations of JTI. Mr. McCoy said: "After 17 years at JTI and 15 years at RJ Reynolds, the time has come for me to retire, and to hand over the keys of this extraordinary company to Eddy, who will take it into the next era of commercial success. Eddy's broad experience in the tobacco business and M&A accomplishments demonstrate that he has the vision and ability to continue to drive the business forward. Following his role as Regional President for Western Europe, where he achieved steady growth in a large and challenging region, Eddy has more recently led all our M&A activities across the world, including the acquisition of Natural American Spirit outside the US and an equity stake in NTE in Ethiopia. He has also forged ahead our journey into the innovative emerging products business with acquisitions such as Logic and E-Lites." "I wish to thank the JT senior management team for having given me the opportunity to lead this company over the last three years, and my JTI Executive Committee colleagues and other employees for their remarkable devotion in making JTI the fastest growing tobacco company for the last six years" Mr. McCoy added.